Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a procedure for fusing the lumbar spine from an incision made from the front or side of the body. Incision is made on the abdomen soft structures are retracted. Lumbar spine is exposed from the front. Disc material or diseased bone is removed. Fusion graft/cage is inserted. Screws or plate is put to stabilize.
Painful disc degeneration or disruption. It is also used in the treatment of spondylolisthesis, scoliosis and other spinal conditions.
An incision is made by a general surgeon in the abdomen to expose the front part of the spine.
Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) is used to determine the correct level(s) to be operated.
The disc is approached after carefully separating away the abdominal contents and moving major blood vessels off to the side.
The disc is removed.
A fusion cage or wedge of bone is placed in the disc space.
Normal compression of the spine will hold the bone or cage in place. A screw may be placed into the vertebrae for additional fixation.
Surgery takes approximately 1-3 hours.
After the procedure
After the surgery, you will be in the recovery for some time and then will be shifted to your room.
You will be receiving medication intravenously including for pain.
If you are comfortable, you will be assisted out of bed on the same day or the day after the surgery.
A brace or corset may be prescribed for some time.
You will be also given some medication to avoid constipation.
Certain exercises will be explained to you to do at home at the time of discharge or when you follow up with your spine doctor.
In any spine procedure, recovery is dependent on a lot of factors. It is hugely dependent on the age and health of the individual.
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