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X-Lift Spine Surgery: February 14, 2012

Minimally invasive surgery continues to prove that less is more. It’s evolved as the gold standard for efficient, patient-friendly procedures.

“Most of the minimally invasive surgery we do is for degenerative disc disease and sometimes that includes decompression which we could do through small tubes which is a nice, that can be done as outpatient surgery. Even complex surgery like fusions we can now do through small incisions,” says Dr. Jeffrey Scott Henn, a neurosurgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.

 The newest of these less invasive procedures is an operation called X-LIFT or Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion. It typically treats those suffering from degenerative disc disease.

“It’s a small incision coming in directly from the side where you’re doing essentially a large lumbar fusion operation but doing it through small incisions.
Coming from the side allows us to do fusions of the lower spine through small incisions, avoiding the big muscles in the back, which are usually the cause of post operative pain,” says Dr. Henn.

Recovery time is about four to six weeks, versus six to twelve months for open spine surgery.

“The legacy of the last ten years or so of spine surgery is saying ‘can we do the same operation, but do it through smaller incisions and with less bleeding and with less tissue trauma?’ And the answer has clearly been ‘yes’. We’ve been able to really push the envelope. I can now offer patients options that ten years just didn’t even exist,” says Dr. Henn.

Advantages are less blood loss, less down time and fewer infections.

“What we’ve discovered with these procedures is not only recovery time quicker but many times complication rates can be lower and infection rates can be lower,” says Dr. Larry Antonucci, Chief Operating Officer for Lee Memorial Health System.

With their backbone firmly in place, patients can stand taller and live stronger.

“I think its just a matter of wanting to do the best for patients to get them better as quickly as possible and to get them back to their normal lives,” says Dr. Antonucci.