M. Formica, E. Quarto, A. Zanirato, L. Mosconi, M. Lontaro-Baracchini, M. Alessio-Mazzola, L. Felli

January 2021, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 50 - 62 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06598-y

First Online: 15 September 2020

ALIF in the correction of spinal sagittal misalignment. A systematic review of literature


We aim at analysing the impact of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) in restoring the main spinopelvic parameters, along with its potentials and limitations in correcting sagittal imbalance.

Materials and methods

The 2009 PRISMA flow chart was used to systematically review the literature; 27 papers were eventually selected. The following spinopelvic parameters were observed: pelvic tilt (PT), sacral slope (SS), lumbar lordosis (LL), segmental lumbar lordosis (LLseg) and sagittal vertical axis (SVA). Papers reporting on hyperlordotic cages (HLC) were analysed separately. The indirect decompression potential of ALIF was also assessed. The clinical outcome was obtained by collecting visual analogue scale (VAS) for back and leg pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. Global fusion rate and main complications were collected.


PT, SS, LL, LLseg and SVA spinopelvic parameters all improved postoperatively by − 4.3 ± 5.2°, 3.9 ± 4.5°, 10.6 ± 12.5°, 6.7 ± 3.5° and 51.1 ± 44.8 mm, respectively. HLC were statistically more effective in restoring LL and LLseg (p < 0.05). Postoperative disc height, anterior disc height, posterior disc height and foraminal height, respectively, increased by 58.5%, 87.2%, 80.9% and 18.1%. Postoperative improvements were observed in VAS back and leg and ODI scores (p < 0.05). The global fusion rate was 94.5 ± 5.5%; the overall complication rate was 13%.


When managing sagittal imbalance, ALIF can be considered as a valid technique to achieve the correct spinopelvic parameters based on preoperative planning. This technique permits to obtain an optimal LL distribution and a solid anterior column support, with lower complications and higher fusion rates when compared to posterior osteotomies.

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