Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

The Department of Surgery at Pocono Medical Center (PMC) recently performed its first anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) to treat a patient’s severe back pain.  This pain is caused by natural and traumatic degeneration of the disc space in the spine. 

ALIF occurs through a small incision made in the abdomen.  “For the right patient, ALIF is a great alternative to traditional spinal surgery,” said Allister Williams M.D., a Yale-trained spine surgeon at PMC who performed the procedure with the assistance of Maneesh Ailawadi, M.D., General Surgeon at PMC.  Through ALIF, damaged spinal discs are removed and replaced with temporary implants.

Advantages to ALIF are significant and include less blood loss, shorter surgical time, and a quicker recovery, according to Dr. Williams.  The procedure is also significantly less painful than traditional spinal fusion surgery, as ALIF uses implants instead of bone grafts from patients’ hips. It is important to understand that not all patients are good candidates for ALIF including older individuals with osteoporosis, those facing an active infection or cancer, or those that are pregnant.

For questions or more information, please contact 570-426-2301.

Images from an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)

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