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  XLIF In The News:

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Trish Smith describes her turnaround from a life of constant pain. (The videos is non-graphic, and suitable for viewing by all ages.)

A Revolutionary New Back Surgery Is Getting Patients Back To Their Activities In Record Time - XLIF Surgery

More than 25 million Americans suffer back pain. Many of them will resort to spinal fusion when symptoms become unbearable.

Trish Smith describes her turnaround from a life of constant pain. "I've been active all my life with hiking climbing, biking, horseback riding," Trish said.

But all those activities took a toll on her back. Her back pain left here unable to walk. Doctors told here she needed spinal fusion surgery and that normally recovery would take months and she would be in the hospital 6 to 7 days.

Typically, doctors make a large incision in the back, and then cut or move muscles to remove bone and fuse vertebrae. Instead, Trish opted for an easier solution. Trish became one of the first patients in her area to under go a new approach to back surgery that is minimally invasive, it is called XLIF (Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion). With the XLIF procedure, surgeons enter through the side, so they donít have to cut muscles. With the XLIF procedure, surgeons use safety sensors to alert the surgeon if he gets too close to nerves, so he can steer around them. Standard surgery takes up to six months to recover from. The new procedure takes six weeks.

"I was up the next day, walking pain free," Trish said. "I feel like I have my life back again." Four weeks later Trish was back to exercising, working on her farm, and looks forward to doing more.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by KIRO7 Eyewitness News.

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