Fortunately, there is a new, less invasive back surgery that forgoes opening up the patient. This procedure is called Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) and is not for everyone. Performed by physicians with Orthopedic Surgery jobs: leapdoctor.com/Home/OrthopedicSurgery-medicine-jobs, it is only used for anterior lumbar fusion and does not work on L5-S1. The procedure does, however, work for L1-L5 and can treat degenerative scoliosis, foraminal stenosis, recurrent disc hernations, degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis. Many are reporting less pain with XLIF than open back surgery and speedier recovery times.
The outpatient procedure is quite simple: small incisions are made in the back, coupled with real-time X-ray images and monitoring equipment that allow the doctor to remove disc material without opening up the entire back. Then, the disc material is replaced by a bone graft that is protected by a cage of carbon-fiber, bone, titanium or polymer. This cage keeps scar tissue from growing and causing postoperative pain.