Lumbar Interbody Fusion: ALIF PLIF TLIF DLIF
Lumbar Interbody Fusion is a surgical technique employed for the fusion of two adjacent vertebrae (interbody), in the lower back region (lumbar spine). In the lumbar interbody fusion, the affected disc is removed and an implant is inserted into the disc space, between the vertebral bodies, to maintain the alignment of the spine. In addition, bone grafts or bone graft substitutes are also placed in the disc space to promote bone healing.
An interbody fusion can be performed through different approaches which include:
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF):
This procedure is performed for the treatment of back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. In this procedure, the spine is approached from the front (anterior). This allows the surgeon to access the spine without damaging the lower back muscles.
- Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF):
In this approach the spine is approached through an incision over the back.
- Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF):
In this technique, the surgeon approaches the spine form the side. TLIF involves the placement of a single bone graft from one side of the spine, without moving or damaging the nerve roots.
- Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF):
It is a minimally invasive approach for lumbar interbody fusion. The spine is approached by separating the psoas muscle; hence this procedure is also known as transpsoas lateral interbody fusion. It causes minimal damage to the back muscles, nerves and blood vessels.