Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) Surgery
Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is a type of spinal fusion surgery. If you’re suffering from a condition such as degenerative disc disease, ALIF back surgery can ease your symptoms by reducing the amount of motion around problematic areas of your spine. If you’re researching options for Phoenix spinal fusion surgery, read on.
ALIF spine surgery is a less invasive form of spinal fusion surgery. It is generally performed at lumbar spine level to correct defects at the L4-S1 disc spaces. “Anterior” refers to the surgeon’s approach–through the front. Accessing the spine through the front of the body means that no back muscles need to be dissected, which results in a faster, easier recovery with less pain.
NOT EVERYONE IS A CANDIDATE FOR ALIF. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SPINAL FUSION SURGERY IN PHOENIX, DR. BAIG CAN ADVISE YOU WHETHER THE PROCEDURE IS SUITABLE BASED ON YOUR CONDITION.
Because an anterior approach involves working around major blood vessels, ALIF spinal fusion surgery is always performed with the support of a vascular surgeon. Dr. Baig has performed numerous successful spinal fusion surgeries in Phoenix, including both ALIF and Mini ALIF, in partnership with excellent vascular surgeons.
What happens during ALIF surgery?
The goal of ALIF is the same as other lumbar interbody fusion surgeries such as XLIF, TLIF and PLIF – controlling painful ranges of motion and restoring a proper spinal alignment as far as possible.
ALIF back surgery, or lumbar spinal fusion surgery, involves an incision at the front of the body. Through this incision, Dr. Baig can access the damaged lumbar vertebrae by retracting the abdominal muscles, organs and blood vessels. An experienced vascular surgeon will assist with mobilizing large blood vessels.
Damaged disc material is removed, and an interbody implant is placed in the empty disc space to restore disc height and maintain proper spinal curvature. Bone graft material is used to fill in the rest of the disc space and to fuse adjacent vertebrae together. Screws, rods or plates may be used for added stability, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Your recovery time will vary depending on your medical status and whether you had open ALIF or Mini ALIF. Dr. Baig can provide more information on your predicted lumbar spinal fusion recovery time
Why ALIF Spine Surgery?
There are a number of benefits to ALIF and Mini ALIF over traditional posterior approaches to spinal fusion surgery or back surgery.
- ALIF back surgery avoids cutting the posterior muscles around your spine. Since there’s no damage to the back muscles, patients typically enjoy a shorter, less painful recovery time than with other spinal fusion techniques
- During Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery (PLIF), the nerves in the back of your spine are manipulated to allow access to the disc space. ALIF means there’s no need to interfere with these nerves, which again means a more comfortable recovery with less chance of nerve damage or bruising.
- With a Mini ALIF, the abdominal muscles are not cut, reducing your recovery time even further.
Am I a candidate for ALIF or Spinal Fusion Surgery in Phoenix?
IT IS NOT THE BEST OPTION FOR PATIENTS WITH PRIOR SIGNIFICANT ABDOMINAL SURGERY, CERTAIN VASCULAR CONDITIONS, OR SEVERE OSTEOPOROSIS. AS ALWAYS, DR. BAIG WILL NOT PERFORM ANY FORM OF BACK SURGERY UNLESS HE IS CERTAIN IT WILL HELP YOU. NOT EVERYONE IS A CANDIDATE FOR ALIF OR MINI ALIF. A CONSULTATION WITH DR. BAIG DURING YOUR RESEARCH FOR PHOENIX SPINAL FUSION SURGERIES IS THE BEST WAY TO FIND AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT PLAN FOR YOUR BACK PAIN AND RELATED SYMPTOMS.