Back pain is a common condition, and the lower back – the lumbar portion of the spine – is one of the most commonly injured areas. Lumbar spine pain can result from a variety of causes, but the most common cause of back pain in this area is a problem with vertebral discs, such as disc degeneration, a disc tear or disc herniation. Axial fusion is a relatively new, less invasive surgical treatment option designed for people suffering through pain due to lumbar disc problems.
WHAT IS AN AXIAL FUSION?
Disc degeneration refers to the breakdown of the vertebral discs and surrounding area. Disc tears occur when the outer part of the vertebral disc tears, and disc herniations occur when the material on the interior of the disc pushes outside its normal boundaries. Any of these conditions can cause pain, as well as numbness and tingling in the affected extremity.
Problems with lumbar discs may require surgical intervention to obtain satisfactory relief from radiculopathy. One of the treatments available for patients with worn lumbar discs is minimally-invasive axial fusion surgery.
How it works
Axial fusion is a revolutionary treatment option designed to repair worn or damaged discs in the lower back. It is typically performed on the disc that lies between the first sacral vertebra and the last lumbar vertebra.
To perform this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision next to the tailbone and creates a channel used to access the affected area between the vertebrae. He or she then removes the damaged portions of the disc and replaces them with bone graft material. The surgeon will also fuse the discs to stabilize that area of the spine.
A shorter, less painful recovery
Unlike other fusion procedures, an axial fusion will not completely remove the affected disc. When the procedure is completed, the patient’s annulus fibrosus, which is the outer structure of the vertebral disc, will remain mostly intact. Only the damaged portions of the disc will be removed.
In addition, the angle used to access the affected area is designed to minimize damages to the surrounding tissues by eliminating the need for the surgeon to cut through muscles and ligaments. This reduces the pain the patient suffers after the procedure, as well as the amount of time the patient will spend recovering from the surgery.
Since the fusion is a minimally invasive procedure, it is not as likely to result in significant amounts of bleeding or other complications, such as infection.
Learn more about axial fusion
If you or someone you love is suffering from the symptoms caused by a worn disc in the lower back, axial fusion may be the most effective treatment. Try our free Treatment Check tool below to begin seeking the best solution to your pain.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR AN AXIAL FUSION?
Axial fusion is a relatively new surgical treatment option designed for people suffering with disc problems in the lower lumbar region of the spine. Axial fusion may be recommended for people who have a disc tear, herniation or rupture at the L5-S1 level that is causing considerable pain or other symptoms, and doesn’t respond to conservative treatment methods.
This spine surgery is most often recommended for patients who have exhausted more conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy, prescription medications, nerve blocks and steroid injections. It is not usually recommended for patients with extremely severe disc degeneration that has led to the complete destruction of the disc. This procedure is also contraindicated for patients who have undergone previous retroperitoneal surgery.
What are the advantages of axial fusion surgery?
Axial fusion is a less invasive alternative to traditional fusion surgery, and it is often used for patients who would be good candidates for a traditional fusion but prefer a less invasive approach with fewer complications and a shorter recovery time. Axial fusion is also a smart option for patients who have certain anatomical features that make traditional fusion surgery too difficult or dangerous.
Axial fusion surgery takes only one hour on average to perform, whereas traditional fusion surgery typically takes several hours. Likewise, axial fusion requires only one night in the hospital, whereas traditional fusion surgery forces the patient to remain in the hospital for several days following the procedure.
Have an MRI ready to go?
To learn more about axial fusion surgery or to discuss other spinal treatment options, schedule a FREE MRI EVALUATION with one of our experienced spine surgeon today. We will personally walk you through our assessment of your situation over the phone to get started on a treatment plan.
Take the next step towards eliminating pain
See if you qualify for axial fusion by trying our free Candidacy Check tool below before talking with someone at NJSO.
Or, if youre ready to talk with a spine specialist, call us today at 855-586-2615.