Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) Surgery

What is an ALIF?

An ALIF procedure is a minimally invasive spine operation. Dr. Ghasem approaches the selected lumbar spine level(s) from the front through the abdomen. The abdominal contents are safely mobilized and retracted out of the way to provide wide visual access to the desired disc. The injured disc is then replaced with a structurally supportive spacer. This spacer acts to stabilize the spine as well as recreate the natural height and curvature of the spine.

Do I Qualify as an ALIF Candidate?

Patients experiencing intractable pain as a result of degenerative disc disease at an isolated level that have failed conservative management are possible candidates. Additional indications include:

Patients who have had extensive prior abdominal operations or radiation, may not qualify as candidates.

ALIF Procedure in Detail

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia with the patient positioned on their back.

The abdomen is prepped with disinfectants and a small approach through the front is performed.

As previously stated, the abdominal contents are swept carefully to the side within the peritoneal sac and protected with retractors.

The vasculature directly over the spine is meticulously mobilized and retracted away from the targeted lumbar spine.

The targeted disc is then confirmed and methodically removed.

An optimal trial implant is selected after the disc space is prepared for implant delivery and the final interbody spacer is inserted with bone promoting biologics.

The spacer is then fixated into the vertebral bone and each layer of tissue is repaired in its native position.

Depending on its desired purpose, an ALIF may be able to suffice without any additional surgery.

In certain situations, the ALIF operation is then augmented with posterior instrumentation to further enhance fusion rates or an open decompression for improved neural function recovery.

ALIF Post Op Recovery

Post operative functional recovery and the need for an acute rehabilitation facility is in large part dependent on the baseline pre operative function. The vast majority of patients are walking the same day after surgery with expert physical and occupational therapists. Time to return to work varies depending on the job description but on average is between 2- 6 weeks. Post operative restrictions with gradual return to daily activities will be discussed in detail before the operation and should be adhered to very closely to avoid adverse events. Restrictions are completely lifted once a solid fusion has been obtained.