Correction of Spondylolisthesis XLIF (Lateral Lumbar Fusion)

Spondylolisthesis is a condition characterized by the forward movement of a vertebra. The lumbar (lower back) region of the spine is the region where spondylolisthesis most commonly occurs. To correct vertebral alignment and reduce pain and other symptoms, a minimally invasive XLIF (lateral lumbar fusion) can be performed. The key advantage the procedure has over traditional spine surgery is the lateral (from the side) minimally invasive approach. Less muscle and soft tissue damage allow patients to recover faster. They also experience far less post-surgical pain. The spine specialists at Hope Orthopedics provide spondylolisthesis patients with a spondylolisthesis treatment solution using an XLIF.

An XLIF Procedure at Hope Orthopedics

An XLIF is performed as an outpatient procedure. General anesthesia is administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. After patients are asleep and comfortably positioned, the procedure is performed using the following steps:

  • Incision. A small lateral incision is made so the surgeon can perform the procedure without damaging the large back muscles.
  • Exposure. Live x-ray guidance is used to place a small probe near the area that will be operated on. Dilation tubes of increasing diameters are placed over the probe to create a small opening.
  • Vertebra removal. Tiny instruments are passed through the opening created by the dilators. The instruments are used to remove the disc of the vertebra that slipped forward. The disc wall is left intact.
  • Implant insertion. An implant filled with bone graft is inserted into the intervertebral space. Normal anatomy is restored as the implant rests securely against the disc wall. Screws and rods are placed in the vertebrae to hold them in a fixed position.

Incision closure is carefully performed to ensure a noticeable scar does not develop after surgery. Sterile dressings are used for infection prevention and maximum healing purposes.


Patients return home with a family member or friend after their surgery. Over the course of a few days, patients will regain strength and be able to stand up and walk on their own. Patients see their spine specialists approximately two weeks after their procedure. At six weeks, patients are usually cleared to perform light activities. A complete recovery occurs when bone graft and existing bone fuse to form a single solid vertebra that does not move.


Normal spine anatomy is restored following the procedure. Patients range of motion is limited; however, they are no longer in pain. Patients live much healthier and happier lives after their procedure. Countless patients who have had their procedure performed by one of the spine specialists at Hope Orthopedics have received results they never thought were possible.