Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion or ALIF is a type of spinal fusion that utilizes an anterior (front – through the abdominal region) approach to fuse (mend) the lumbar spine bones together. Interbody fusion means the intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone (or metal) spacer, in this case using an anterior approach.
The anterior technique is often favored when multiple spinal levels are being fused and multiple discs need to be removed.
ALIF may be performed in conjunction with or without a posterior decompression (laminectomy) and/or instrumentation (use of metal screws/rods).
The anterior ALIF approach is also ideal when only one spinal level is fused and a posterior decompression and/or instrumentation are not required.
ALIF is commonly performed for a variety of painful spinal conditions, such as spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease.