The main purpose of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) surgery is to stop motion in the part of the spine causing your discomfort. Performed from the front, ALIF surgery often becomes a possible source of relief when symptoms from nerve compression affect quality of life. If you’re a good candidate, this procedure may be able to curb your pain.
The Offending Disc Is Removed
Relief is provided by first removing the disc that’s pressing on nerve roots. When performing ALIF surgery, Los Angeles surgeons may combine the procedure with a posterior technique if your spine is unstable in a location that’s difficult to reach from the front.
Hardware Is Put into Place
Stability is provided once adjacent vertebrae are connected with appropriate hardware. This usually includes a cage to restore disc height and maintain the right spacing between vertebrae.
Fusion Material Is Applied
Bone graft material is placed inside of the cage and around it. This will ease your pain by preventing movement in the affected area. The graft material can be synthetic (manmade) or it may come from your hip area. Screws may be inserted to provide added stability and prevent nearby parts of your spine from becoming weak.
Muscles Are Strengthened During Post-Surgery Physical Therapy
Recovery time from ALIF surgery is often shorter than with other types of spinal fusion because there is less disruption to nearby muscles. Your pain will be further reduced as you participate in physical therapy when you reach a point where it is safe to do so.
ALIF is often performed to ease symptoms related to lumbar (lower back) degenerative disc disease. Fusion success rates are especially high with ALIF surgery, averaging around 90 to 95 percent. Even when a fusion fails, another attempt at Los Angeles spine surgery may not be necessary if the joint has stabilized or symptoms have become manageable with other treatments.
If chronic pain is significantly affecting your quality of life and you think you might need ALIF surgery or another treatment, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We specialize in wide variety of procedures that have helped many patients begin living a pain-free life. Call 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation.