Spine problems are a relatively common issue and it is likely that either you or someone you know suffers from chronic spine pain to some degree or another. Some types of spinal pain can be reduced with medication, physical therapy or other nonsurgical options. Depending upon the severity of the issue, however, surgery may be an option that is considered. One of those surgical procedures is the anterior lumbar interbody fusion, referred to as the ALIF procedure. It can help to reduce issues including pain, numbness and tingling associated with spine problems.
Some spinal procedures are used to treat specific problems but the ALIF can be used for a wide variety of reasons. It is sometimes used when a vertebra is broken but it can also work for individuals with scoliosis, for degenerated discs, if one of the vertebrae has slipped over another or if there is any instability in the spine. The procedure may be recommended if other forms of nonsurgical treatment have been unsuccessful such as physical therapy, rest and medication. In order to determine if you are a candidate for this type of procedure, you can contact Dr. Dickerman in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This procedure is done under general anesthesia and it begins with an incision in the abdomen and the retraction of any organs, abdominal muscles and vascular structures in the area. In doing so, it gives the surgeon an opportunity to access the front of the spine and the vertebrae in the area. As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Dickerman is highly qualified to perform this type of procedure.
Once the spine is exposed, the degenerated disc can either be fully or partially removed. At that point, either a bone graft or a substitute for the bone graft will be inserted into the empty disk space where the intervertebral disc was removed. In doing so, it allows for support to the area so that the vertebrae are not moving improperly or rubbing against each other. At that point, the blood vessels, organs and muscles can be put back into their proper place and the incision can be closed.
Typically, this procedure is done as an open surgery but another option may be considered in some cases. It is far less invasive and is an endoscopic procedure that allows the doctor to reach the vertebrae and the damaged disk through a very small incision. This is something that can be discussed with Dr. Dickerman, as there may be cases in which a minimally invasive procedure could be right for you.
Any questions such as potential risks, recovery time and the possibility that it will work for you as an individual can be discussed with Dr. Dickerman during one of your visits. He has helped many people throughout Dallas and the surrounding area, including Richardson and Plano. Contact him for more information as to how he can help you to overcome your spine problem and to get back on your feet again.