Anterior lumbar interbody fusion

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

If you have been diagnosed with chronic lower back (lumbar) pain, anterior lumbar interbody fusion may be recommended. This procedure is used as a treatment option for many spinal conditions, including degenerative disc disease, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis. Like other forms of spinal fusion, anterior lumbar interbody fusion can stabilize the spine and reduce lower back pain.

What is it?

During an anterior lumbar interbody fusion procedure, the patient is placed on his or her back and the surgeon approaches the surgery through a 3- to 5-inch incision in the patient’s abdomen. After creating space to access the spine, the surgeon will then remove the diseased disc and bone material, creating a space for a box or cage to be inserted around the vertebrae. Once the disc space has been removed, the surgeon will insert rods and screws to hold the vertebrae in place. Surgeons may then also insert a bone graft to promote fusion between the two vertebrae.

Is anterior lumbar interbody fusion right for me?

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion is a proven treatment for lumbar pain. However, it does have its limitations in creating stability, especially among patients with a “tall” disc. Before electing to undergo any surgery, patients should exhaust all other alternative options, as well as conduct research surrounding alternative surgical procedures. Many individuals with spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis may not require surgery and can often ease the symptoms of these conditions through nonsurgical methods such as physical therapy, weight loss and stretching.

Minimally invasive alternatives

Though anterior lumbar interbody fusion does not disturb the back muscles, it is subject to many of the same pitfalls of traditional open back procedures because of its large incision. Laser Spine Institute offers a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back fusions like anterior lumbar interbody fusion. Our minimally invasive surgery is more effective and offers a shorter recovery time than traditional open back fusion. For example, lateral lumbar interbody fusion is a minimally invasive spine surgery that accesses the spine through small incisions on the side of the body.

This procedure avoids the disrupting or stripping of the soft tissue and muscle that is required during other spine fusion procedures. And, unlike anterior lumbar interbody fusion that cuts through the muscles and soft tissue surrounding the spine, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion can offer stability, with the benefit of a minimally invasive procedure. Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures allow our patients to experience quicker recoveries than with traditional open neck and back surgery and our patients can return home the same day as their procedure was performed.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about the advantages of our minimally invasive surgery.