Some lower back disorders, such as degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, can compress the spinal nerves, leading to lower back pain, leg pain, sciatica, instability, and other symptoms of nerve radiculopathy. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) decompresses the spinal nerve and stabilizes the lumbar spine to alleviate the symptoms. Dr. Salari uses the latest, minimally invasive ALIF techniques to help you lead a healthy, pain-free life.

What is Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)?

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a surgical procedure that aims to alleviate lower back pain caused by the compression of the spinal nerve in the lower back (lumbar) region. It’s a suitable treatment option for patients with degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, particularly if non-operative treatment options haven’t produced the desired results. Below, we describe what the term “anterior lumbar interbody fusion” truly means.

The term “anterior” indicates the surgical incision is placed on the front of the body, i.e., the abdomen. The incision may be on the left or right side of the abdomen.

The spine is divided into various sections, and the term “lumbar” refers to the lower back region. As such, this procedure pertains to disorders affecting the lumbar spine.

The lumbar spine contains five vertebral bodies in the lower back, each separated by soft, cushion-like discs. The term “interbody” refers to the intervertebral disc space.

The term “fusion” refers to the fact that numerous techniques are used to fuse or combine two adjacent vertebrae, such as bone graft materials and implants (plates, screws, cages, etc.)

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical procedure wherein bone grafting materials, and implants are placed in the disc space between two vertebrae in the lumbar region to facilitate their fusion, thus alleviating the pain caused by spinal nerve compression. The surgery is performed via small incisions made on the left or right side of the abdomen.

man with back pain

When is ALIF Needed?

The ALIF procedure is for patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis. These lower back conditions can cause nerve compression, leading to radiating pains, sciatica pain, and neurologic symptoms, such as numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations on one or both legs. However, the ALIF procedure is recommended as a last resort if conservative treatments fail to relieve symptoms and the neurologic symptoms continue worsening.

Your Minimally Invasive ALIF Procedure

Dr. Salari performs your ALIF procedure under general anesthesia using advanced, minimally invasive techniques. After your lower back is cleansed, the surgeon makes two to three extremely small incisions on the abdomen, either on the left or right side. The surgeon may insert an imaging tool through one incision and the surgical tools through the others to remove the diseased intervertebral disc.

After restoring the size of the disc space and unpinching the nerves, the surgeon may use numerous techniques to facilitate vertebral fusion. He may use a combination of bone grafting materials and implants, such as screws, plates, and cages to restore spinal alignment. The implants will stabilize the lower back, and the bone grafting material will facilitate natural bone regeneration around the implants.

woman running

Contact Dr. Salari for Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Dr. Behnam Salari is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with specialized training in minimally invasive spine surgery. He always diagnoses and understands the root cause of your pain using various diagnostic tools, including CT scans and MRIs. He exhausts all non-invasive treatment options before recommending minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), which helps you lead a pain-free life with minimal downtime.

For more information about anterior lumbar interbody fusion or to learn about your lumbar surgery options, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Salari at our state-of-the-art offices in Morristown, Hackettstown, Sparta, or Randolph in New Jersey.

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