Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a type of spinal fusion which involves an anterior approach to fuse lumbar spine vertebrae (bones) together. Anterior refers to the front of the body. Lumbar means the last five vertebrae of the spinal column.
In fusion surgery (also called arthrodesis) two bones are fused together to form a single piece of bone tissue. When fusion surgery is done with vertebrae in the spine, the bones are fused together and the disc space between them no longer exists.
If a patient has vertebral compression fractures or scoliosis, a physician may recommend balloon kyphoplasty. This procedure is minimally invasive, and takes 30 minutes to an hour for each vertebra.