Learn About LLIF Surgery

In a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) surgery, the patient lies on their side for the procedure and the spine is accessed through the psoas muscle. Since the surgery is performed through a smaller incision, there is less disruption to the muscles and surrounding tissue, which reduces blood loss and typically reduces the length of a hospital stay. There is the ability to use a larger implant than with a TLIF, ALIF, or PLIF procedure as well, allowing the maximum amount of coverage.


This approach may be used for cases of degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the lumbar spine.

Spondylolisthesis or Retrolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis causes the forward motion (or slip) of one vertebral body over the one below it. This can be caused by a traumatic accident or from degenerative disc disease (DDD). DDD can also cause retrolisthesis, which is a vertebral body slipping backward.

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is attributed to age and general wear and tear that presents in the disc area with herniated discs or osteophytes (bone spurs). These can cause collapse and pressure on the nerve roots and/or spinal cord. In the lumbar spine, this occurs most often due to load on the lower spine. This could be due to weight, gravity, or lifting as the lumbar spine carries 80% of body weight when standing.


Trauma in the lumbar spine can take many forms and can involve bone, ligaments, or a combination of the two.

Revisions of Previous Spine Surgery

If a prior surgery did not result in fusion, or pseudarthrosis, then a revision may be necessary.


A spinal tumor may require the need for stabilization.



Depending on the pathology, a lateral procedure may be an option when non-surgical techniques do not relieve symptoms. The primary goals are to decompress neural elements, restore height/lordosis, and stabilize/fuse the spine.

Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms or for more information.

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