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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

An interbody fusion is a type of spinal fusion that involves removing the intervertebral disk. This type of fusion can be performed using different approaches. For example, the surgeon can access the spine through incisions in the lower back or through incisions in the side. In an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), the surgeon approaches the lower back from the front through an incision in the abdomen.

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Artificial Disc Replacement

Some doctors believe that the failure to improve after fusion surgery is due to the fact that fusion prevents normal motion in the spine. For this reason, artificial disk replacement—which aims to preserve normal motion—has emerged as an alternative treatment option for low back pain.

Artificial disk replacement initially gained FDA approval for use in the U.S. in 2004. Over the past several years, numerous disk replacement designs have been developed and are currently being tested.

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Lateral Interbody Fusion 

In a lateral lumbar interbody fusion, the surgeon takes a side approach and centers the incision over the patient's flank. With this approach, the surgeon can reach the vertebrae and intervertebral disks without moving the nerves or opening up muscles in the back.

The lateral approach is often referred to as extreme lateral or direct lateral interbody fusion (XLIF or DLIF).

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Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion 

This technique is a variation of PLIF. In transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), your surgeon approaches the disk space slightly more from the side. The advantage of this approach is that it requires less movement of the nerve roots; thus, theoretically, it decreases the chance of nerve injury.

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