Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
This surgical technique is offered to patients who have a degenerate lumbar-sacral disc that has usually collapsed and has become dehydrated and is causing back and/or leg pain. The front of the spine is approached through a lateral or side-on approach, then the offending disc is removed and replaced with a cage spacer and bone graft.
In some cases an anterior plate and screws can be attached to hold the disc space still while it is healing or a separate incision is made in the small of the back for the placement of two screws or a similar device, to achieve additional fusion of the pair of facet joints at that level. This then achieves a “front and back” spinal fusion for that level.
This usually leads to excellent relief of low back pain. This surgery will require a 5-7 night stay in hospital followed by post-operative physiotherapy.