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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

An Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is a spinal procedure performed to treat disorders of the lower back.

There are a number of diseases, including spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, that can be addressed with an ALIF.

The surgery is performed in conjunction with a vascular surgeon and involves a small incision made on the front of the abdomen. Approaching the lumbar spine from the front allows the surgeon and patient to avoid the pain associated with the surgical dissection of the large lower back muscles.

Among the many advantages of AnteriorLumbar Interbody Fusion include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Larger spacers which promote better anatomical correction of deformity
  • Higher rates of fusion healing

Once the diseased or disrupted disc is visualized the abnormal disc and bone spurs are removed in order to alleviate the pressure on the spinal nerve roots. Following the removal of the ruptured disc a spacer is placed between the two vertebrae to restore the normal alignment of the spine.

The body’s natural healing process will fill the spacer and its surrounding area with bone. A thin titanium plate is then inserted on the front surface of the spine to maintain stability and alignment.

After surgery:

Once surgery is complete the patients will spend a few hours in the surgical recovery area for monitoring.

  • Patients typically will spend one to two night in the hospital and are able to walk immediately as they work with a physical therapist.
  • A lower back brace may be provided to support the lumbar spine.

All surgical patients at Comprehensive Spine Care are provided with medications prior to the date of surgery with instructions on their post-operative usage. Wound care, medication and diet instructions for after surgery are also provided upon discharge from the hospital and are also available here.