Unlike traditional back surgery, the XLIF surgery accesses the spine through the patient’s side, or laterally. A minimally invasive approach through the side of the body avoids disrupting major muscles and tissues in the back that the surgeon traditionally had to go through to access the spine. Additionally, with the XLIF procedure, the incisions are much smaller than those in traditional back surgeries. The surgeon accesses the spine through two one-inch incisions compared to the typical five-inch incisions necessary with traditional open back surgery. This results in minimal tissue disruption and shorter hospital stays and recovery time.