Anterior lumbar interbody fusion or ALIF is mainly performed through the abdomen by approaching towards the spine. This is mainly use to correct any problem associated with small bone present in the vertebrae or the spine. The process is mainly similar to welding process. The painful vertebrae are fused together so that they transform into a solid single bone. Removing inter vertebral disk is done in this type of lumber interbody fusion.
Variety of approaches can perform for interbody fusion. Interbody fusion is mainly performed from the front side of the patient. The blood vessels and the organs of the patients must be move from the side in anterior lumbar interbody fusion. This is generally done so that the surgeon can get full access to the patients spine without disturbing the nerves present nearby.
General anesthesia is normally utilized to perform these types of surgery. Breathing tube is placed on patient mouth and with the assistance of ventilator the patient breath. This type of surgery normally takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. The total number of hours mainly depends on the number of spinal levels.
On the left side of abdomen of the patient a 3 inch to 6 inch incision is made. The muscle of the abdominal are spread apart gently. There is no need to cut this muscle. To visualize the anterior or the front part of the patient doctors normally use special retractors.
In the disc space a special type needle is inserted. Doctor use X-ray report to confirm that the needle is inserted correctly. After identification of the correct disc space from the x-ray report doctors generally remove the disc. By cutting the outer part of the annulus fibrosis the disc is usually removed first and after that nucleus pulposus is removed.