Lateral interbody fusion (LIF) is a minimally invasive approach for fusion of the lumbar spine. Indications for this approach include degenerative scoliosis, spondylolithesis,fractures, infections, and adjacent segment degeneration. Some advantages of this technique compared to traditional open surgery include decreased surgical time, less tissue disruption, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster return to normal activity.
To perform the lateral interbody fusion, the patient is placed in the lateral decubitus position and the surgeon approaches the spine on the side facing up. With this lateral position, the surgeon can more easily access the spine through the retroperitoneal fat and the psoas muscle. However, potential risks of lateral interbody fusion include injuries to the psoas muscle, exiting ventral nerve roots, and to the genitofemoral nerve.