NuVasive®, Inc.

XLIF® Corpectomy


This webpage is designed to inform you about the eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) Corpectomy surgical procedure. It is not meant to replace any personal conversations that you might wish to have with your physician or other member of your healthcare team.

Not all the information here will apply to your individual treatment or its outcome. The information is intended to answer some of your questions and serve as a stimulus for you to ask appropriate questions about the procedure.

The eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) Corpectomy technique is a minimally disruptive surgical procedure performed through the side of the body. A corpectomy (with corpus meaning “body”, and ectomy meaning “remove”) is an effective procedure where the vertebral body and the adjoining discs are removed. An XLIF Corpectomy is used to treat patients suffering from severe spinal cord injuries resulting from trauma or tumors where a large part of the vertebrae must be removed.

Depending on your surgeon’s preference, patented nerve monitoring technology may be used to gain lateral (side) access to the spinal column, avoiding any major nerves in the area between the incision and the column. Traditional surgical options for addressing a corpectomy typically involve large exposures. The XLIF Corpectomy technique allows surgeons to treat corpectomy patients through a reproducible, minimally disruptive exposure that provides direct visualization to the affected area.




Many of the symptoms may be treated without surgery with methods that involve medication, rest, heat, and physical therapy. It is important that you speak to your physician about the best options for you.

If your symptoms do not improve with other methods, your physician may suggest spinal surgery. Surgery is reserved for those who do not gain relief from non-operative forms of treatment, patients whose symptoms are increasing or worsening, and/or patients that present with a spinal condition which indicates the need for surgery.



If you require spinal surgery, your physician may determine that the XLIF Corpectomy procedure is a good option for you.

Some examples of pathologies that may be ideal for the XLIF Corpectomy procedure include:

  • Vertebral body fracture(s)
  • Vertebral body tumor

Conversely, your physician may determine that an XLIF Corpectomy procedure is not a good option for you. It is important to discuss this with your physician.

Are there risks involved?

Keep in mind that all surgery presents risks and complications that are important to discuss with your physician prior to your surgery. Listening to your physician’s guidance, both before and after surgery, will help to ensure the best possible outcome from your procedure.

Some of the most common complications following XLIF Corpectomy surgery include: problems with anesthesia, infection, nerve damage, problems with the graft or hardware, and ongoing pain. This is not intended to be a complete list of the possible complications.



Your physician will review your condition and explain all of your treatment options, including non-operative treatments, such as medications and physical therapy. Once you have been admitted to the hospital, you will be taken to a pre-op room and prepared for surgery. This may include instruction about the surgery, cleansing of your surgical site, as well as instruction about the postoperative period.



Your surgeon will make a small incision(s) on the lateral (side) of your body. Dilators, guided through the incision, will be used to monitor your nerves and direct the path to the affected vertebral body.  Once the safest path has been determined, a retractor will be utilized to hold the skin incision open, providing visibility and access to the affected area.

Your surgeon will then remove the portion of the affected vertebral bodies and discs. With severe injury, it may be necessary to remove large portions of the affected anatomy (including the vertebral bodies and discs).

Once the affected vertebral body is removed, the adjacent endplates will be prepped and then an expandable vertebral body replacement implant will be placed in the space. The implant will be expanded to restore the proper height and provide mechanical support while bone grows between the vertebral bodies during the fusion (bone healing) process. That segment of your spine will eventually stabilize once fusion occurs.

Internal fixation will be used to act as a stabilization device (internal brace) to help hold everything in place while fusion occurs. This could be some combination of screws and plates that are affixed to the adjacent vertebral bodies.  Your surgeon will determine what kind of fixation will be used during the procedure.


Depending on the surgical procedure, your stay in the hospital could be from one to five days or more, depending on your medical condition. Your physician will discuss with you what is right for your particular case. The day after your surgery, your physician may instruct you to use a brace for a period of time to assist with the spinal fusion process. Supervised by trained medical staff, your physician may ask you to carefully sit, stand, or walk within 24 hours of the surgery. Once you are discharged from the hospital it is important to limit your activities for a period of time (determined by your healthcare provider) to give your body a chance to heal. Your physician will discuss with you any pain medications to take home, as well as a prescribed program of activities. Your physician will provide instructions on wound care, exercises, and limitations to postoperative activity.


Depending on your surgical incision, you may have showering restrictions. Ask your physician for appropriate instructions.

Your physician will discuss the incisions that will be made during an XLIF Corpectomy surgery. Scars of approximately two inches are common.

For a period of time after your surgery, you may be cautioned about activities such as driving. Your physician will tell you when you may drive again.

The implants used in the XLIF Corpectomy procedure may activate a metal detector. Because of increased airport security measures, please call your local airport authority before traveling to get information that might help you pass through security more quickly and easily. Ask your physician to provide a patient identification card.


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