As with any type of spinal fusion surgery, the recovery experience for an XLIF procedure varies from patient to patient.
With an XLIF procedure, the following recovery factors are typical:
- Many patients notice a difference in their pre-operative symptoms (i.e., leg pain, etc.) immediately after surgery. In other patients, pre-operative symptoms often go away gradually.
- Pain at the incision sites after surgery is normal and should be expected. This pain should eventually go away and should be easily controlled with oral pain medication that is prescribed upon discharge from the hospital.
- Because the XLIF surgery only splits muscles (like an ALIF) but does not cut muscles (like a PLIF), many patients are able to get up and walk around the night after they have had surgery.
- The total time a patient spends in the hospital after the surgery depends on several factors, such as the number of vertebral levels that were fused, the severity of the problem and the patient's overall health.
- Some patients who undergo an XLIF procedure are able to return home the same day as the surgery; others require a stay of a few days or a week in the hospital.
- Most patients are able to return to their normal activities within a few months of surgery.