Published on July 26, 2012

Dr. Ali Murad introduces XLIF lumbar fusion surgery to Southern Colorado

PUEBLO, Colo. -- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a debilitating condition that plagues hundreds of thousands Americans. Parkview Medical Center physician, Ali Murad, performs a minimally invasive surgery called XLIF, that is returning quality of life to his patients.

Thomas Gardner, a 61-year-old, retired Puebloan had been suffering from severe back and leg pain for more than six years. His mobility had been limited because of the severity of the pain and he was unable to sleep. He was forced to take high doses of medication to manage the pain and there were several times he was bed ridden. “I wasn’t able to do anything, 100% of my life was taken away,” Thomas explained.

Thomas was suffering from Spinal Stenosis as well as multiple other medical conditions. He went to see Dr. Ali Murad, a Neurosurgeon with Parkview Neurosurgical Services. Dr. Murad discovered that Thomas would be an ideal candidate for the XLIF surgery. XLIF is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat several conditions arising from advanced degeneration of the spine including lumbar spinal stenosis, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. The most common indication for surgery in persons over 60 in the US is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS). More than 400,000 Americans, most over the age of 60, are already suffering from symptoms of LSS.

Aging causes intervertebral discs to lose water content and become less able to hold the loads applied to them. This process is normal, but can cause back or leg symptoms due to loss of disc height and impingement of nerves. Many people suffer from a compromised quality of life due to degenerative disc disease or LSS. The XLIF approach is a lumbar fusion surgery for patients who need a quicker recovery and rapid return to normal activity. “Thomas was a good candidate for the minimally-invasive surgery because of he had multiple medical issues,” Dr. Ali Murad said. “With this procedure there is minimal blood compared to the typical open spinal surgery, along with reducing post operative pain and chances of infection.”

In November 2011, Thomas had the XLIF surgery done and was out of the hospital in a short four days. During the surgery, Thomas was placed on his side and one small incision were made on his side, and two small incisions on his back. Disc tissue is removed and the vertebrae were fused together. A stabilizing implant was then put into place to restore the disc height, which removed the pressure from the nerves and enabled Thomas’ spine to once again support necessary loads.

“Dr. Murad explained every detail of the procedure before he did it. He made me feel really comfortable.” Thomas continued. “The nursing staff of the Joint Center was an exquisite team. They gave me a whole lot of life back.”

“At his six month follow up in May, Thomas was doing very well. He had gone from being bed ridden and requiring high doses of pain medications every day to taking a very small account occasionally. It has allowed him to be very active, carry out activities of daily life and very importantly he has been able to sleep,” Dr. Murad said. “He hasn’t been this good in years.”

Dr. Murad is one of the few surgeons in Colorado who are experienced in performing the XLIF procedure. “My patients have done very well with this procedure,” Dr. Murad said. “Seniors with multiple other medical issues have the greatest benefit because it allows for quicker recovery, minimizing blood loss and post-operative pain.”

If you think you may be a candidate or you would like more information on the XLIF procedure, contact Parkview Neurosurgical Services at 719.595.7040.

About Parkview Medical Center

Founded in 1923, Parkview Health System in Pueblo, Colorado, offers general acute healthcare and health specialty services. As a private, non-profit organization, Parkview is licensed for 350 beds and provides a full range of healthcare services including a verified Level III Trauma Center along with exceptional comprehensive cardiac and orthopedic care. Parkview Health System is the leader in all service lines in our service area. As a vital healthcare source, Parkview’s service area includes Pueblo County and 14 surrounding counties, which together represent 370,000 total lives.

Parkview Health System is the largest non-government, nonprofit, private sector employer in Pueblo County with approximately 3,000 employees and provides a skilled medical staff of over 370 physicians. The impact of our workforce triggers a strong impact on the community as Parkview’s annual payroll contributes $232 million to the economy.