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An Introduction to Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

A privately practicing neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Thomas completed a spine fellowship at the University of Miami Spine Institute. Dr. Michael Thomas focused largely on the development of techniques in anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), a procedure he has since discussed as a speaker at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons' Section for Spine and Peripheral Nerves.

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An Introduction to Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

  1. 1. AN INTRODUCTION TO ANTERIOR LUMBAR INTERBODY FUSION Dr. Michael Thomas, Neurosurgeon
  2. 2. Introduction  A privately practicing neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Thomas completed a spine fellowship at the University of Miami Spine Institute. Dr. Michael Thomas focused largely on the development of techniques in anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), a procedure he has since discussed as a speaker at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons' Section for Spine and Peripheral Nerves. The anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) procedure allows a surgeon to graft bones of the spine via an approach from the front of the body. As in any spinal fusion surgery, it requires the surgeon to remove the diseased or injured disc from between the surrounding vertebrae.
  3. 3. Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion  He or she then fills that same area with a spacing tool, also known as a cage, which contains a bone grafting material. This encourages the two vertebrae to grow together and immobilize the joint, thus ideally relieving motion-induced pain. Although most lumbar fusion surgery is performed using a posterior approach, the anterior approach can provide more direct site access. Similarly, because this approach allows for completion of the procedure without disturbance to the surrounding nerves, it can result in a more efficient recovery. Most patients can begin to stand and walk on the day following the procedure and are able to leave the hospital within three days.

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