Mark Santman, M.D.

Surgery of the Adult Spine in Round Rock, TX


Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

An ALIF can be performed for a variety of lumbar spine conditions including herniated or degenerative discs, lumbar instability, spondylolisthesis and lumbar radiculopathy (nerve root injury). The ALIF is different from many other fusions because the procedure is performed from the front of the lumbar spine.

The surgery can be divided into three basic steps:
1. Removal of the disk between the vertebrae,
2. Fusion of vertebrae with a cage and bone graft,
3. Stabilization of the fusion with metal plate or rods and screws.


The surgery is performed through a skin incision in the lower abdomen and with the assistance of a vascular or general surgeon. A retractor is gently inserted between the soft tissue and intestines to allow access to the front of the lumbar spine. The herniated and/or degenerative disk is removed and a cage (hollow spacer) packed with bone is inserted into between the vertebrae. This cage maintains disc space height and allows bone cells to grow from one vertebra to another. A metal plate and screws may be placed over the vertebra, cage and bone graft to stabilize the spine during the fusion (healing) process. Alternatively, metal rods and screws can be inserted thru separate incisions in the low back (Dr. Santman would discuss and recommend before surgery). The skin is closed with dissolvable sutures and sterile superglue. Most patients require a back brace for 6-12 weeks after surgery.
We are proud to provide leading-edge spine surgery service to the people of Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Taylor, Hutto, Lakeway, Elgin, Leander, Liberty Hill, Granger, Llano, Bastrop and the Texas Hill Country.

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