Anterior Lumbar Interior Fusion (ALIF)

ALIF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material. Rural Spine provides pain treatment services for patients in Rock Springs as well as Holdrege and Sidney, NE.

How is the procedure done?

An Anterior Lumbar Interior Fusion (ALIF) is performed through a small incision, about 3-5 inches, through the stomach. Part of the damaged intervertebral disc is removed to allow insertion of a tiny bone graft. This procedure realigns the vertebra and relieves pressure from compressed nerve roots. Over time, the bone graft will fuse together with the vertebra above and below.

How long will it take to recover?

Most people will remain in the hospital for 2-4 days after their surgery. Various factors, such as mobility, pain control and physical therapy requirements can affect length of stay.

The recovery period for an ALIF will vary for each person depending on the procedure and the body’s ability to heal and fuse the vertebrae. Normally a person can expect to be on medical leave for about 3-6 weeks. You will be able to resume light activities shortly after your surgery. Refer to your doctor’s post-operative instructions for more information.

What are the risks with this surgery?

As with most surgeries, there is a risk of bleeding, infection and allergic reactions to anesthesia.

The specific ALIF risks are:

  • Blood Vessel Damage
  • Bowel Injury
  • Nerve Damage
  • Need For Further Surgery

When should I call my doctor?

You should contact us if you experience:

  • A temperature of 101.1° or above.
  • Increasing redness and swelling at the incision site.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Changes in the amount, appearance, or odor of drainage from your incision.
  • New or increased changes in sensation/presence of numbness in extremities.
  • Severe pain that is not relieved by medication and rest.
  • Problems passing urine or controlling your bladder or bowels.
  • Problems with your walking or balance
  • Questions or problems not covered by these instructions