I had an XLIF fusion of L2-3 and L3-4 in late February of 2012, coming in from my left side. Just thought I would update fellow back patients on my condition 15 months later. Initial post-op issues have mostly been resolved. I still have some residual numbness around my left upper thigh, hip and groin, but either I have gotten used to it or its severity has subsided because it is just not an issue. Abdominal swelling of the upper left side has completely subsided, and my navel has returned to center after being offset to the right an inch or more for eight months or more after surgery. The surgeon had not seen this before. Numbness and pain on middle of right thigh has gone away. Scar has healed and lost most of its redness.
Original pain symptoms have been reduced by 90 percent. I had had pain in the lumbar region (spondylolisthesis with stenosis) and then radiating out into my left and right hip that would become excruciating after riding in a car for more than a half hour. Now I can make hours-long drives with bearable discomfort setting in after two or three hours. Sensitivity to bouncing such as heel strike when running or hitting a chuck hole on the lawn mower or tractor is completely normal.
Where I am starting to see some pain is at the vertebrae above and below the fused joints. My doctor said this is normal and nearly inevitable after fusions as more work and wear is "turned over "to these vertebral joints. So far things seem stable, though, which is encouraging.
Would I have this procedure again? Absolutely. The one thing I would insist on is that the surgeon not use Medtronic Infuse as the bone morphogenic protein, as there are two more new studies questioning the safety of this product. I don't recall the brand of BMP used in my XLIF, but do not believe it was Infuse.
Please ask if any questions, especially if you are considering having an XLIF.