An ALIF is a procedure that treats a wide array of spinal pathologies including scoliosis, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, and more. What differentiates ALIFs from other lumbar procedures is that access to the spine is granted through an incision on the patients belly. This approach gives access to the spine without disrupting the patients nerves or musculature.
Thee patient is positioned face up and an incision is made on the lower portion of the belly. The surgeon will dissect down through the various structures in the abdominal cavity until the spine is directly visualized. The intervertebral disc will then be removed and and intervertebral spacer will be inserted in its place to restore height and stability to the level.
Patients are discharged about 2-5 days after their procedure. With a proper physical therapy and rehabilitative plan, patients can resume light activity in 4-6 weeks. Patients generally make a full return to normalcy in 4-6 months.
Most patients will generally recover faster from an ALIF than other types of lumbar fusion. The fusion and success rates of ALIF are also generally higher.