I had a one level spinal fusion at L4-L5 and my surgeon used the XLIF procedure, plus a laminectomy. My recovery has been pretty smooth and I think I am doing well. I have read in many places that the XLIF is considered to be a "minimally invasive" surgery, and that recovery time is much faster than people who have had an anterior or posterior fusion. I agree, I seem to be getting along much better than friends who have had the other procedures with their fusions.
I do have one question that I have been unable to find an answer. Does anyone know if the actual fusion of the spine is faster with this procedure? I'm not looking for a medical opinion, because I know that we are not supposed to get into that on this forum. I have the opinion that a fusion is a fusion, and it still takes awhile for the vertebrae to fuse. I have been unable to find the answer to this question, and I forgot to ask my surgeon when I saw him last week at my 4 week appointment. My xray looked good, 4 screws in good placement and the graft looked great as well. My surgeon said that I can increase my activities gradually, but didn't really give me specifics. I am walking as much as possible and that seems to help with the pain and stiffness. I am obviously not a very patient person, and not being able to do all my daily activities is starting to get to me. Any ideas or experience from other people who have had the XLIF procedure? Thanks.