Your physician might determine an ALIF procedure is a good option for you if you require an interbody fusion, are skeletally mature, and have received at least six weeks of non-surgical treatment.
Conversely, your physician may determine that an ALIF procedure is not a good option for you if you are not a good candidate for fusion surgery in general due to other medical conditions. These conditions can be, but are not limited to: signs of inflammation or infection near the operative site, patient sensitivity to implant materials, patients with inadequate bone quality, previous retroperitoneal surgery, previous aortic bypass or endovascular stent graft, and other indications.
Are there risks involved?
Keep in mind that all surgery presents risks and complications that are important to discuss with your physician prior to your surgery. Listening to your physician’s guidance both before and after surgery will help ensure the best possible outcome from your procedure. Risks associated with the ALIF procedure include: blood vessel damage, problems with the interbody device or hardware, retrograde ejaculation (in males), deficit or damage to the spinal cord, nerve roots, or nerves, possibly resulting in paralysis or pain. Please contact your physician to discuss all potential risks.
Anterior approaches, such as in ALIF, allow access to the discs at the front of the spine and do not require muscle stripping as in posterior approaches. ALIF provides the surgeon with a clear approach to the lumbar spine with excellent access to the operative disc space. Patients tend to experience less incisional pain from this approach.