DAVE WATTS, MD
Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
ALIF is a surgical procedure performed to correct the spinal cord problems specifically in the lower back area. A patient is given two options; open surgery or minimally invasive surgery.
Common Indications for ALIF
These are some of the most common indications a patient may need to undergo ALIF.
The slippage of one vertebra on another also called spondylolisthesis.
The fracture of the spine.
Lower back or leg pain resulting in no response to the non-surgical or conservative treatment options.
The S-Shaped curve of the spine or scoliosis.
Instability of the spine.
A patient about to undergo ALIF is given general anesthesia. The patient is positioned in a way that their supine is lying on the back. An incision is made by the spine surgeon in the abdomen to retract the muscles and other structures. This helps give more clarity and accessibility to anterior of the vertebrae. The surgeon approaches the spine from the front in the lower back region of the body. The surgeon removes partially or wholly the damaged body part between two adjacent vertebrae. It is followed by fusion of the same with or without using the bone grafts. The surgeon may choose to use implant materials like wires, plates, screws, and rods to treat the vertebrae, delivering better support and stability of the spine. Once the surgery is completed, the surgeon re-approximates and closes the skin using sutures.
Recovery from ALIF
The recovery time and surgery success depend on factors like overall health condition of the patient, spinal condition, age and the underlying problem.
Healing capacity of the body varies from patient to patient. The hospital follows a well administered post-surgery rehabilitation program.
Risks associated with ALIF Surgery
There can be numerous ALIF surgery-related risks involved including blood clots, nerve damage, infections, and blood clots. Other related risks may also include failure of fusion of the vertebral bone and bone graft, requiring additional surgery.