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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is an operation that approaches the spine through an incision in the abdomen. A portion of the affected disc space is removed from the spine and replaced with an implant. In some cases, titanium or stainless steel screws and rods may be inserted into the spine to supplement the reconstruction stability.

During an ALIF operation the patient lies on his or her back, and the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's abdomen to access the spine. To have a clear view of the spine, the surgeon then retracts the abdominal and vascular structures.

Once the spine is in view, the surgeon removes a portion of the degenerated disc from the affected disc space. Once the surgeon has removed the disc material, bone graft material is inserted into the space to help restore the normal function of the spine.

The patient may be hospitalized for several days, but will normally be up and walking by end of the first day. Any post-operative pain will be eased by medications prescribed by your surgeon.