The Authority on Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Did you know… Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.

Dr. Bae and his team have been published in several medical journals including the Orthopaedic Clinics of America, Spine and the American, and British Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. They have also given numerous presentations on the spine and orthopedics, specifically in relation to fusion and surgical options that can help to better these fusion procedures and outcomes. Their knowledge in the industry makes The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration a trusted leader for other surgeons as well as nationally and globally recognized medical device companies.

What is Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery?

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is used to treat lower back pain for degenerative spine conditions and is often favored when multiple spinal levels require fusing or multiple discs need to be removed. During the procedure, the surgeon will approach the spine through the abdomen instead of the lower back. A metal, plastic or bone spacer which usually contains bone graft material is inserted into the disc space. This will help to maintain the normal disc height and fuse together the painful vertebrae so they heal into a single solid bone, thus reducing pain and discomfort. Instrumentation (rods, screws, plates and cages) may also be used to create an “internal cast” to support the vertebrae during the healing process. ALIF is often combined with a posterior approach to provide the patient with more stabilization

What Should I Expect After an ALIF Procedure?

All treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient with results and healing time dependent on the patient’s particular procedure, incision and physician’s approach to spine; however most patients are able to return home 3-4 days following surgery. Patients are generally told to avoid bending at the waist, lifting more than five pounds and twisting in the early 2-4 week post-operative period. The primary physician will also schedule follow-up appointments for the patient and will likely have him or her consult with physical and occupational therapists for more detailed instruction for recovery.

What are the Risks of Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion?

All surgery has associated risks. Some of the potential risks of ALIF include nerve damage, bowl or bladder problems, infection, blood clots, blood loss and adverse reaction to anesthesia. There is also the chance that the vertebral bone and graft do not fuse properly and require an additional surgery to correct the problem. Understanding these risks, including who may be more at risk for the above mentioned complications, can help you feel more comfortable about entering surgery and should be discussed with an experienced spinal surgeon.

How We Can Help

If you have one or more fractured bone, spondylolisthesis, an unstable or abnormal curvature of the spine or protruding or degenerated discs, you may be a candidate for anterior lumbar interlaminar fusion.

The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration is on the cutting-edge of spinal surgery, providing patients with advanced surgical options that are not only effective and safe, but minimize operating time, reduce scarring and minimize incision size to promote a quicker recovery. Along with discussing your candidacy for ALIF, our surgeons will also explore the non-fusion, motion-preserving surgical procedures available to you. To request more information or a consultation with one of our professional and experienced physicians, call (310) 828-7757.