Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery at Affordable Cost, Lumbar Fusion Surgeon India

Published: 21st May 2010
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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Overview


What is it?

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is a back surgery that involves approaching the spine through an incision in the abdomen. A portion of the affected disc space is removed from the spine and replaced with an implant. Titanium or stainless steel screws and rods may be inserted into the back of the spine to supplement the stability of the entire construct.

Anatomy


What parts of the spine and low back are involved?

ALIF surgery is performed through the front (anterior). The structures in this area include the anterior longitudinal ligament, the vertebral bodies, and the intervertebral discs. The anterior longitudinal ligament attaches along the front of the spinal column. The vertebral bodies are the large blocks of bone that make up the front section of each vertebra. The intervertebral discs are the cushions between each pair of vertebrae.


Why is it done?

Patients who are suffering from back and/or leg pain are potential candidates for the ALIF procedure. This pain is generally caused by natural degeneration of the disc space.


Discectomy is the removal of the disc (and any fragments) between the vertebrae that are to be fused. Taking out the painful disc is intended to alleviate symptoms. It also provides room for placing the bone graft that will allow the two vertebrae to fuse together. The medical term for fusion is arthrodesis.


Once the disc is removed, the surgeon spreads the bones of the spine apart slightly to make more room for the bone graft. The bone graft separates and holds the vertebrae apart. Enlarging the space between the vertebrae widens the opening of the neural foramina, taking pressure off the spinal nerves that pass through these openings. Also, the long ligaments that run up and down inside the spinal canal are pulled taut so they don't buckle into the spinal canal.


Incision

The surgeon makes an incision in the patient's abdomen to access the spine. To have a clear view of the spine, the surgeon then retracts the abdominal and vascular structures.


Once the spine is in view, the surgeon removes a portion of the degenerated disc from the affected disc space.


How will I prepare for surgery?

The decision to proceed with surgery must be made jointly by you and your surgeon. You should understand as much about the procedure as possible. If you have concerns or questions, you should talk to your surgeon.


Once you decide on surgery, your surgeon may suggest a complete physical examination by your regular doctor. This exam helps ensure that you are in the best possible condition to undergo the operation.


On the day of your surgery, you will probably be admitted to the hospital early in the morning. You shouldn't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.


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