Spine Glossary

sort descending Term description
activities of daily living (ADL)

Activities of daily living are those activities that people may engage in during the course of their daily lives, including lifting, bending, walking, sitting, standing, reaching, climbing, running, etc.


Suddenly occurring.


Tissue transplant between non-identical individuals, in the case of spine surgery, usually bone. Allografts are from cadaver donors.

annulus fibrosis

The outer portion of the intervertebral disc, made of layers of collagen fibers that lie in circumferential layers around the nucleus pulposus.


Front. Being in front, frontal. Anterior approach in spine surgery refers to an approach through the front of the neck or the through the abdomen.

anterior interbody fusion (AIF)

A surgical procedure which involves the replacement of some or all of the disc with a bony graft through an anterior approach. This technique is used commonly in the cervical spine to treat degenerative disc disease and HNP (herniated nucleus pulposus). This technique is also used in the lumbar spine to accomplish a fusion in many situations.

anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)

See anterior interbody fusion.


Inflammation of the arachnoid membrane (one of the coverings of the spinal cord/brain) that can lead to scarring. This condition may be identified after surgery in some patients who have persistent pain.


Commonly used term that describes a disorder that causes inflammation and pain of the joints. Inflammation of a joint.

arthroscopic microdiscectomy (AMD)

Minimally invasive method of discectomy.