Dr. Josh Beckman, who is an adjunct clinical assistant professor at SAMMC, was invited to teach our residents on the techniques of performing eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF). XLIF is a minimally invasive way of performing lumbar fusion surgery for various conditions affecting the spine including degenerative, traumatic, infectious or neoplastic conditions. It involves approaching the lumbar spine from a lateral, retroperitoneal position, rather than the traditional method of going from posterior. This allows the surgeon to achieve a higher rate of fusion while minimizing the amount of muscle dissection needed, and thus potentially shorten the recovery time for patients.
Dr. Beckman, presented a lecture to the residents, describing the key components of this technique, including his tips, tricks, pitfalls, and complication avoidance tactics. The lecture was followed by an animated discussion on the indications and patient selection for this procedure, and how it compares to other more traditional surgical procedures.
The residents then each performed the procedure on cadavers, using the actual instruments one may use during the surgery. Drs. Sun and Beckman, guided the residents through these procedures, step by step with fluoroscopy guidance, just as the actual surgery is performed. The residents gained a thorough understanding of this procedure.