Anterior lumbar surgery for degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a relatively novel technique that can prevent damage to posterior osseous, muscular and ligamentous spinal elements. This study reports the outcomes and complications in 286 patients who underwent fusion - with artificial disc implants or combined fusion and artificial disc implants - by a single-operator neurosurgeon, with up to 24 months of follow-up. The visual analogue scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Short Form 36 (SF36) and prospective log of adverse events were used to assess the clinical outcome. Radiographic assessments of implant position and bony fusion were analysed. Intraoperative and postoperative complications were also recorded. Irrespective of pre-surgical symptoms (back pain alone or back and leg pain combined), workers' compensation status and type of surgical implant, clinically significant improvements in VAS, ODI and SF36 were primarily observed at 3 and/or 6 month follow-up, and improvements were maintained at 24 months after surgery. A 94% fusion rate was obtained; the overall complication was 9.8% which included 3.5% with vascular complications. The anterior lumbar approach can be used for treating DDD for both back pain and back and leg pain with low complication rates. With appropriate training, single-operator neurosurgeons can safely perform these surgeries. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.