ALIF, otherwise known as Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, is a procedure that utilizes the front (abdominal region) to fuse the bones in the lumbar spine. This can help to alleviate back pain.
Have you experienced back or spine pain?
Sometimes this pain is caused from an accident, a fall, or a sports injury and may result in a herniated disc. More men experience spinal injuries than women. The ALIF procedure is designed to remove part or all of a herniated disc from your vertebrae in a minimally invasive incision. It may be needed if you have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease.
Degenerative discs are usually caused by general wear and tear or from an injury to the back. It can also be hereditary. Sometimes a small tear can appear in the disc wall which causes pain. These tears can heal, but in healing they create scar tissue. Over time, the nucleus of the disc becomes weaker and will lose some of its water content. When this occurs, the disc’s function as a shock absorber collapses and causes the vertebrae to move closer to one another. This causes an improper alignment and the Facet joints become twisted.
These Facet joints connect the bones of the spine and are where nerve joints pass through to go from the spinal cord to your legs, arms, and other parts of your body. These joints are responsible for your spine to be able to twist and bend properly.
When a nerve is damaged, intense pain can be caused, as well as numbness, muscle weakness, and increased sensitivity. At this point it’s time to see a doctor!
The ALIF procedure
In an ALIF procedure, the damaged disc is partially removed, but a portion of the wall is left to keep the bone graft material. Then a small metal cage, filled with bone graft, is placed inside the disc to re-align the vertebral bones which takes the pressure off the nerves. If additional support is needed, it may be necessary for the surgeon to use screws or rods along the spine. In time, the bone will grow over the implant which forms a bone bridge, connecting the upper and lower vertebrae. This solid bone that develops is called a fusion.
This being a minimally invasive procedure will reduce the possibility of complications during and after surgery. It will also help to speed up your recovery and healing process. Recovery after an ALIF procedure usually takes one or two days in the hospital and then an additional six to twelve weeks. Physical therapy will also be part of the healing process.
Call POSMC today!
To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.
POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!
Plano Orthopedic Spine Treatment
Doctors Who Treat Spine
To schedule an appointment with our spine specialists listed below please contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.