Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

An anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is performed to remove a large portion of a degenerated disc that is causing back pain. As the name implies, the spine is approached from the front. The removed disc portion is replaced with implanted bone grafting materials and adjacent vertebral bodies fuse to provide support. An incision is made on the lower abdomen, and the abdominal contents and the large blood vessels are retracted to the side, thus exposing the front of the lumbar spine. Surgical instruments are used to remove the degenerated disc. Once the disc is removed, a structural cage made of donor bone or synthetic material is placed between the vertebral bodies. Over time, bone grows into the cage, fusing the vertebrae above and below the cage and stabilizing the spine. The incision is closed and dressed to complete the minimally invasive anterior lumbar fusion surgery. The operation is often supplemented with a posterior operation, involving placement of screws to allow rigid fixation of the spine while fusion occurs. Patients will typically be hospitalized for 2-3 days and should avoid strenuous activity for 6-12 weeks.

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain then call the Houston neurosurgeons at Texas Spine & Neurosurgery Center for a consultation today - (281) 313-0031. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion is just one of the many surgeries our neurosurgeons perform to treat back pain.