Neurosurgical spine specialist Dr. Ian Armstrong describes the XLIF surgery.
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Mark: He is great. Dr. Travis Stork: So this is an amazing new surgery. How does this work? Dr. Ian Armstrong: Well, this model here is a torso on its right side. What makes this approach revolutionary is that we're going through the side. The older approach, we would go to the back muscles and destroy those back muscles or we would go to the stomach muscles and damage the stomach muscles which would take a long time for the patients to recover. With this new approach, we make about an inch incision, going through the side, we're able to use a retractor, pass this retractor down with electrical stimulation, guiding us through these nerves and muscles safely so we can get right down onto the disk. Once we're in the disk place, we can the move in with our instrumentation. Again, all developed for this special approach and then we can work through this portal and remove the damaged disk. Now it's really amazing even for a spine surgeon to see something this minimally invasive and see the results that we get with patients like Mark. Dr. Travis Stork: Because of recovery -- if Mark, let's say, had the old fashioned technique done, how long would he have been recovering? Dr. Ian Armstrong: He would've been in a hospital for at least five days and then several weeks of recovery and then not really up and functioning for four to six months. Dr. Travis Stork: Where as with this, he is three day out trying to run of the stage, which is very impressive. Mark: I ready to go dancing. Dr. Ian Armstrong: He'll back to routine activities in four to six weeks and I know Mark is anxious to get back to fishing with his grandson. So he'll back to that in four to six weeks and be dancing soon too. Mark: I'm ready. Dr. Travis Stork: So who else other than someone like Mark would be a good candidate for the XLIF procedure? Dr. Ian Armstrong: I think the important thing is that a patient with incapacitating pain, someone who cannot live with their symptoms, cannot provide for their family, cannot recreate and is taking pain medication all the time. And importantly, has failed conservative management. Someone who's been through chiropractic, physical therapy, pain management, all these things Mark had gone through. Once you get to that crossroad, I think that patients become a candidate for surgery at least a consideration for surgery.

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