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Table 3

Advantages and Disadvantages of Most Common Spinal Fusion Procedures

ALIFBack muscles and nerves are undisturbed
Larger implant can be inserted to provide better initial stability
Increased surface area available for fusion
Close proximity to major anterior blood vessels

PLIFCan provide anterior fusion without second incisionLess disk material can be removed
Smaller implant, less stability
More difficult to reduce spondylolisthesis deformity
Small risk of cage displacing posteriorly into canal and creating neural compression

TLIFAllows lateral access to disk space, minimizes risk to neural structures
Bone fusion enhanced because bone graft is placed along gutters of the spine posteriorly but also in disk space Spacer inserted into disk space helping to restore normal disk height
Allows unilateral approach laterally with less need for retraction of nerve roots
Not effective for bilateral disk injuries

LLIF/XLIFMinimally invasive: less tissue damage and blood loss
Smaller incision and scars
Less postoperative discomfort
Quicker recovery time
Added risk to lumbar plexus
In case of complication it is difficult to convert to open spinal surgery
ALIF, anterior lumbar interbody fusion
LLIF/XLIF, lateral lumbar interbody fusion/extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion
PLIF, posterior lumbar interbody fusion
TLIF, transforaminal interbody fusion.