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Post Lateral Lumbar Fusion

Post Lateral Lumbar Fusion

The patient is advised to take it easy during the initial few months following a spine fusion. It is best to avoid excess motion and stress at the fused segments. It is during this time that the fusion bone mass is becoming established. There are certain types of movements which must be avoided if at all possible;

  • Excess lifting (anything over 10 to 15 pounds)
  • Bending
  • Twisting

Sometimes the surgeon may prescribe a back brace to help immobilize the back. If a back brace is prescribed, it is typically recommended to wear it for 6 weeks to 3 months after surgery.
At the same time, it is important to resume normal daily activities. However, there may be some activities, either at home or at work, which should not be done. If your job includes physical activities, then you may not return to work, sometimes even for six months.


With an XLIF procedure, the following recovery factors are typical with patients we, at Spine Physicians Institute, see in our practice;

  • Many patients notice a difference in their pre-operative symptoms (i.e., leg pain, etc.), immediately after surgery. In other patients, pre-operative symptoms often go away gradually.
  • Pain at the incision sites after surgery is normal and should be expected. This pain should eventually go away. It should also be easily controlled with oral pain medication that is prescribed upon discharge from the hospital.
  • The XLIF surgery only splits muscles, like an ALIF. It does not cut muscles, like a PLIF. Therefore, many patients are able to get up and walk around the night after they have had surgery.
  • A common complication after an XLIF is that a certain number of patients will experience thigh pain on the side that the surgery was performed. It happens due to the intra-psoas approach.
  • Certain patients postoperatively may even experience some knee or ankle weakness secondary to the retraction of the nerves.
  • Most of the thigh pain and nerve weakness is transient and should resolve itself from six to twelve weeks postoperatively.

For more questions, contact our offices located in Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville marketplaces.

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