Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by a herniated or degenerated disc. The surgeon stabilizes the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material.
The procedure is performed through a three- to five-inch incision, either over the center of the stomach or slightly to the side of the stomach.
The surgeon partially removes the damaged disc, leaving some of the disc wall to help contain the bone graft material.
Bone graft is placed in the empty disc space. This realigns and lifts the vertebral bones, relieving pressure from pinched nerve roots.
The vertebrae above and below the graft are fixed together, to maintain proper alignment and position. The surgeon may use metal plates, rods, and screws.
End of Procedure
Over time, bone from the adjacent vertebrae will grow into the graft, fusing those vertebrae. While fusion reduces your spinal range of motion, it should also alleviate pain and other troublesome symptoms that were caused by nerve compression.