The Vault

Adjacent Segment Disease
An Overview of Adjacent Segment Disease and Treatment
May 13, 2017
New Advances in Spine Surgery
New Advances in Spine Surgery
May 19, 2017

An Overview of Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery (ALIF)

Adjacent Segment Disease

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is an invasive surgical technique which involves a bone graft being implanted between two vertebrae. This invasive procedure is one of the options available for treating individuals suffering from unresolved low back pain requiring removal of a defective lumbar disc and subsequent fusion. ALIF is one of the more long-standing procedures and has a strong success rate. One of the technique’s advantages it that is allows people to resume normal activities more quickly. ALIF is an inpatient procedure that takes place in a hospital operating room and usually requires a stay of a few days.

ALIF begins with the spine surgeon making a three to five inch cut on the left side of the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are pulled to the side to gain access to the front of the spine. The aorta and vena cava, which lie on top of the spine, are then moved by a cardiovascular surgeon, giving the spine surgeon room to remove the damaged disc and accompanying material. Next, a bone implant, consisting of a bone graft encased in a metal cage or with an attached plate or spacer, is placed in the now vacant disc space between the two vertebrae. The bone graft will grow within the space and fuse with the vertebrae above and below, forming one solid section. The surgery concludes with the spine surgeon closing the incision.

ALIF is often used in treating the following conditions:

  • Lumbar Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Lumbar Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Some of the advantages of ALIF include:

  • No need to cut back muscles or nerves
  • Better fusion rates for bone graft due to increased compression force because of its placement in the front of the spine
  • Better spinal stability because of insertion of a larger bone implant into the disc space through a frontal approach

If you are suffering from unresolved back pain and would like to make an appointment with one of our physicians to find out treatment options, please contact our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.

Comments are closed.