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Neurosciences and Behavioral Health Center

ALIF, PLIF, DLIF and TLIF

ALIF, PLIF, DLIF and TLIF

Spinal fusion joins two or more vertebrae together using bone graft. This surgery can treat disorders like degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and fracture.

Lumbar interbody fusion (LIF) combines spinal fusion with an interbody device, such as a threaded cage.

Bone graft may be from the patient (autograft) or a donor (allograft). Your surgeon places bone graft around the interbody device and between the vertebrae to stimulate fusion. 

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Your surgeon may perform an ALIF procedure to remove a lumbar disc (discectomy) and fuse the spine.

Your surgeon may perform a mini-open ALIF since incisions are smaller and your muscles are preserved. This may be an open or minimally invasive procedure, depending on your medical history and spinal disorder. 

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

Your surgeon may perform a PLIF procedure to treat degenerative lumbar problems like scoliosis or spondylolisthesis. This may be an open or minimally invasive procedure.

Your surgeon removes the laminae and trims the involved facet joints to access the nerve roots, disc and spinal canal. The extent of the removal of facet joints may depend on the implant size or spinal level treated. Your surgeon then performs a discectomy to decompress the spinal canal and/or nerve roots, implant the interbody device and add a bone graft.

Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF)

The direct lateral approach fuses the spine from the side. Your surgeon removes the disc and places bone or graft material to achieve fusion. It can be part of a staged surgery either on the same day or a separate day.

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

A TLIF is similar to a PLIF except it fuses the front and back of the spine. For example, the anterior (front) may be stabilized using an interbody device and bone graft. The posterior (rear) is fixed using rods, pedicle screws and bone graft.

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Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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