ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Fusion)
An ALIF (anterior lumbar interbody fusion) is a relatively new minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). The distinguishing feature of the procedure is the approach:
- An incision is made on the front part of the stomach
- The abdominal muscles and sac that contains the abdominal contents are gently moved to the side
- The spine is visualized
This type of approach is advantageous because the back muscles are not disturbed in any way during surgery. Patients experience less post-surgical pain, respond well to physical therapy, and recover quickly. Common conditions that the procedure is used to treat include the following:
- Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
The spine specialists at Hope Orthopedics have the knowledge, training, and skills necessary to provide patients with excellent ALIF results. Countless patients have had their lower back and/or lower extremity pain eliminated after a successful ALIF procedure.
An ALIF Procedure at Hope Orthopedics
A board-certified anesthesiologist is responsible for administering general anesthesia and making sure the patient is completely asleep and does not feel any discomfort or pain during the entire procedure. Once the patient is positioned and rests comfortably, the following steps occur:
- A 3-5-inch anterior incision is made
- The abdominal muscles and sac are gently moved aside and retracted
- The diseased or damaged intervertebral disc is removed
- An implant is placed in the disc space
- The vertebrae are fixated using tiny screws and rods
- The incision is carefully closed
The implant that is inserted into the disc space contains bone graft that will fuse with existing bone to form a single solid vertebra that does not move. Total procedure time is approximately 1-2 hours.
An XLIF is performed on an inpatient basis. Patients stay in a large and comfortable private hospital room for 1-3 days after their procedure. Hospital staff, including registered nurses and physical therapists, work with patients to help them regain strength. Patients will get up and walk shortly after their procedure. Patients see their spine specialist two weeks after surgery. Throughout the course of several months, bone healing will take place and patients will slowly be cleared to perform physical activities. A complete recovery occurs when the vertebra is completely fused.
Following an XLIF procedure at Hope Orthopedics, patients experience symptom relief. Back and extremity pain, burning, numbness, and weakness are reduced or eliminated. Because the procedure is performed using minimally invasive techniques, healing occurs must faster than it would if a traditional spine surgery was performed. Patients who are experiencing back and/or extremity pain and would like a treatment solution are encouraged to contact Hope Orthopedics and schedule an appointment with one of our spine specialists.