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ALIF: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

April 21, 2017

Overview

ALIF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material.

Incision Made

The procedure is performed through a three- to five-inch incision on the stomach. Two common approaches are over the center of the stomach or slightly to the side.

Disc Removed

The damaged disc is partially removed. Some of the disc wall is left behind to help contain the bone graft material.

Implantation

Bone graft is placed in the empty disc space. This realigns the vertebral bones, lifting pressure from pinched nerve roots.

Vertebrae Secured

ALIF is typically combined with additional devices such as pedicle screws, which provide rigid spinal fixation and optimize the chance of achieving a solid spinal fusion.

End of Procedure

Over time, the bone graft will form a bone bridge that connects the vertebra above and below. This solid bone bridge is called a fusion.

About the Author
Dr. John B. Adams is board certified in Pain Management by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians. With almost 2 decades of experience, he offers patients access to state-of-the-art pain management, emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to pain management utilizing precision injections, neuromodulation technology, physical therapy, behavioral medicine and judicious use of medications including help with patients titrating off opiates (narcotic pain medications).

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