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Thread: ALIF Anyone?

  1. #1
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    ALIF Anyone?

    Hi All!
    I'm considering getting an ALIF procedure for my flatback (L-5-S-1) as I have mentioned in a previous post. I am ruling out the more drastic wedge osteotomy as too risky, and I can't opt to get to the premiere docs who might have better success with such a complex surgery as I am on my own. I would have the ALIF done locally by Drs. Fry and Mendoza in Carson City Nv. I've had scoli films and MRI done, and am a viable candidate. Doc Fry thinks I "don't look too bad" as far as my flatback is concerned; but I'm not interested in "looking better" just want to walk more comfortably any distance (no walks around the block, etc.) I need a cane or grocery cart etc. to keep comfortably upright, and would love to be able to walk again unassisted, or at least improve my current status to the point of being more comfortable around my own house, standing in line at the Post office etc., without needing my cane chair to sit on, walking to and from a business to my car, etc.

    I am meeting with the younger Doc Mendoza December 1st also, as Dr. Fry is in his 60's now, and doing more assisting these days. He says they have both done many of these procedures. He tells me a "cage" would be inserted, with the front part higher and back lower, so that is what helps correct the "leaning forward". Sounds good on paper!


    Has anyone here had this procedure done relatively recently (with the latest tech, etc.) and been happy or unhappy with the result? Trying to get as much info as possible.

    Thanks!
    Sharon Colley
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon C View Post
    Hi All!
    I'm considering getting an ALIF procedure for my flatback (L-5-S-1) as I have mentioned in a previous post. I am ruling out the more drastic wedge osteotomy as too risky, and I can't opt to get to the premiere docs who might have better success with such a complex surgery as I am on my own. I would have the ALIF done locally by Drs. Fry and Mendoza in Carson City Nv. I've had scoli films and MRI done, and am a viable candidate. Doc Fry thinks I "don't look too bad" as far as my flatback is concerned; but I'm not interested in "looking better" just want to walk more comfortably any distance (no walks around the block, etc.) I need a cane or grocery cart etc. to keep comfortably upright, and would love to be able to walk again unassisted, or at least improve my current status to the point of being more comfortable around my own house, standing in line at the Post office etc., without needing my cane chair to sit on, walking to and from a business to my car, etc.

    I am meeting with the younger Doc Mendoza December 1st also, as Dr. Fry is in his 60's now, and doing more assisting these days. He says they have both done many of these procedures. He tells me a "cage" would be inserted, with the front part higher and back lower, so that is what helps correct the "leaning forward". Sounds good on paper!


    Has anyone here had this procedure done relatively recently (with the latest tech, etc.) and been happy or unhappy with the result? Trying to get as much info as possible.

    Thanks!
    Sharon Colley
    Hi Sharon...

    I did have an ALIF, but it was part of a combined anterior/posterior procedure.

    A standalone ALIF is not something I've heard of being done, but that doesn't mean it's not an option. It seems to me that there might be an issue because the back of your spine is almost certainly fused solidly at this point. Does a wedged cage have enough strength to stand up to a solid posterior fusion? I would do two things if I were you. First, I would ask what your surgeons think about the risk of requiring additional posterior surgery in the future. Second, I would try to get a second opinion from someone outside the current practice (UCSF would be the obvious choice).

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  3. #3
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    Can I just ask how addressing ONE level can be expected to change the torso position?
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Can I just ask how addressing ONE level can be expected to change the torso position?
    A wedged spacer to try to pitch her spine back.....like a tapered doorstop all the way down at the bottom.

    They are probably thinking of using a plate in the front without pelvic anchors from the back.

    I agree with Linda on the 2nd opinion.... If you look at fusion masses to the sacrum, they always have pelvic anchors. I have seen 1, 2 and 4 pelvic anchors online.

    Tiger Woods had a standalone L5-S1 ALIF, but not for scoliosis....this is completely different.

    I tried pitching forward 3-4" and walking and it wears you out quickly..... Thats not easy to do. I completely understand.

    Ed
    Last edited by titaniumed; 11-19-2021 at 12:20 PM.
    49 yr old male, now 63, the new 64...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  5. #5
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    The most common indication to use pelvic fixation is with long fusions to the sacrum. Without this fixation, there is a high rate of pseudarthrosis at the lumbosacral junction, which is mostly due to the high biomechanical stress on this level.


    https://www.wheelessonline.com/issls...nal-deformity/

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 63, the new 64...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  6. #6
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    Carson City, Nv
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Hi Sharon...

    I did have an ALIF, but it was part of a combined anterior/posterior procedure.

    A standalone ALIF is not something I've heard of being done, but that doesn't mean it's not an option. It seems to me that there might be an issue because the back of your spine is almost certainly fused solidly at this point. Does a wedged cage have enough strength to stand up to a solid posterior fusion? I would do two things if I were you. First, I would ask what your surgeons think about the risk of requiring additional posterior surgery in the future. Second, I would try to get a second opinion from someone outside the current practice (UCSF would be the obvious choice).

    --Linda
    Yes, my spine is solid for many years now. Dr Fry did say it would "probably" be in through the front, then securing it through the back too. He has suggested getting an opinion from those docs you recommended, as I copied and presented him with your recommendations before my initial appt. Is it possible to just have my films MRI results evaluated by them rather than a personal visit? I will ask about additional surgery on my next visit.

    Thanks so much for you input!
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    A wedged spacer to try to pitch her spine back.....like a tapered doorstop all the way down at the bottom.

    They are probably thinking of using a plate in the front without pelvic anchors from the back.

    I agree with Linda on the 2nd opinion.... If you look at fusion masses to the sacrum, they always have pelvic anchors. I have seen 1, 2 and 4 pelvic anchors online.

    Tiger Woods had a standalone L5-S1 ALIF, but not for scoliosis....this is completely different.

    I tried pitching forward 3-4" and walking and it wears you out quickly..... Thats not easy to do. I completely understand.

    Ed
    Thanks ED!
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Carson City, Nv
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Can I just ask how addressing ONE level can be expected to change the torso position?
    That's what I am wondering too! He said the correction would be minimal, but thinks "I don't look that bad" so there's that. But would it be enough to change my life for the better? It's making me CRAZY!
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

  9. #9
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    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon C View Post
    Yes, my spine is solid for many years now. Dr Fry did say it would "probably" be in through the front, then securing it through the back too. He has suggested getting an opinion from those docs you recommended, as I copied and presented him with your recommendations before my initial appt. Is it possible to just have my films MRI results evaluated by them rather than a personal visit? I will ask about additional surgery on my next visit.

    Thanks so much for you input!
    Hi Sharon...

    Glad you clarified that. It makes sense that they would do anterior and posterior surgeries.

    It may be possible to submit your films and have a telemedicine appointment with one of the surgeons, although I'm guessing there is some benefit to an in-person evaluation of your flatback. Give them a call at 415-353-2739. Drs. Berven and (Vedat) Deviren have the most experience with complex revisions, so I would try for one of them if possible. In addition to the MRI, one thing you'll need for sure are 36" A/P (or P/A) and lateral radiographs.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  10. #10
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    May 2008
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    Tapered cages

    This article has a tapered spacer or cage in the diagram half way down the article. It's right below L5.

    https://www.spineuniverse.com/exams-...inal-alignment


    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 63, the new 64...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Hi Sharon...

    Glad you clarified that. It makes sense that they would do anterior and posterior surgeries.

    It may be possible to submit your films and have a telemedicine appointment with one of the surgeons, although I'm guessing there is some benefit to an in-person evaluation of your flatback. Give them a call at 415-353-2739. Drs. Berven and (Vedat) Deviren have the most experience with complex revisions, so I would try for one of them if possible. In addition to the MRI, one thing you'll need for sure are 36" A/P (or P/A) and lateral radiographs.

    --Linda
    Hi Linda,

    What on earth are the radiographs you mention? Looked it up online but didn't really get it. Always thought MRIs are the "gold standard". So many details I don't know about, that's for sure.
    Last edited by Sharon C; 11-20-2021 at 02:47 PM.
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Carson City, Nv
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    This article has a tapered spacer or cage in the diagram half way down the article. It's right below L5.

    https://www.spineuniverse.com/exams-...inal-alignment


    Ed
    Another interesting article. So much info, it's mind boggling. I've been waking up at night and going over these random facts-- and sure I won't get the surgery, then sure I should later in the day when the night terrors have subsided a bit.
    I know it's something I have to wrap my own head around and no one can make the choice for me....:-(
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

  13. #13
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    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,220
    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon C View Post
    Hi Linda,

    What on earth are the radiographs you mention? Looked it up online but didn't really get it. Always thought MRIs are the "gold standard". So many details I don't know about, that's for sure.
    Those are the standard long cassette xrays, one view taken from either the front or the back, and one from the side. When flatback is an issue, they need to be able to see what the spine looks like under load (that is, not when lying down).
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Location
    illinois
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    Some larger sites also have an xray called EOS. It is a low dose full body scan that is standing. They can see the whole body, hips, knees ,legs, head. All in one X-Ray.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16
    Broken neck 9/28/2018
    Emergency surgery posterior fusion C4- T3
    Repeated 11/2018 because rods pulled apart added T2 fusion
    Removal of partial right thoracic hardware 1/2020
    Removal and replacement of C4-T10 hardware with C7 and T 1
    Osteotomy

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackieg412 View Post
    Some larger sites also have an xray called EOS. It is a low dose full body scan that is standing. They can see the whole body, hips, knees ,legs, head. All in one X-Ray.
    Wow. I just thought the scoli x-rays were enough.
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, but I have flatback. Thought it was "normal" and I would improve over time. I developed kyphosis above the surgical area. Had surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.
    Today I am still plagued with flatback, and I'm considering ALIF surgery.

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