Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
An anterior lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical operation that addresses problemed spinal discs through an incision made around a patient’s abdomen. It may sound odd to approach the spinal column from the front of the body instead of the back, but this anterior approach can be beneficial for both patient and surgeon. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the benefits of correcting a spinal disc issue with an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) procedure.
The Benefits Of ALIF
Approaching the spinal column through an anterior approach offers both the patient and surgeon a few unique benefits that you won’t find through the posterior approach. While the ideal technique will be determined on a patient-by-patient basis, here’s a look at some of the benefits offered by the ALIF approach:
- Avoiding Spinal Nerves – A surgeon is less likely to unintentionally damage a spinal nerve when approaching the spine through an anterior approach.
- Less Spinal Muscle Damage – Although the surgeon may be closer to the spinal column when using a posterior approach, they’ll need to cut through more healthy spinal muscle tissue in order to access the spinal disc. When using an anterior approach, the surgeon can simply maneuver certain organs in order to access the spinal column without as much healthy muscle tissue damage.
- Technically Easier – From a technical standpoint, it’s easier for a surgeon to address and remove a damaged spinal disc when approaching from an anterior position compared to a posterior position.
- Shorter Recovery And Less Pain – Because fewer tissues are cut and it’s easier for the surgeon to access the disc, the operation tends to be quicker than the posterior approach, and there is usually less post-op discomfort because of the decreased tissue trauma.
- Certain Risks Reduced – While not all potential surgical complications will be reduced when pursuing an ALIF procedure, certain risk factors will be less likely when approaching the spine in this manner. Studies have shown that patients are less likely to deal with problematic blood loss or intestinal blockages when an anterior approach is used.
The right approach will be determined based on your individual needs and surgery goals, but for many individuals, an anterior lumbar interbody fusion will be just what they need to find relief from their chronic disc pain. For more information about the procedure, or for assistance treating a different spinal issue that you’re experiencing, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the talented team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.