One of the most widely used types of spinal surgeries is lumbar spinal fusion. This procedure involves surgically fusing two or more vertebrae together. This treatment is typically performed on patients who suffer from lumbar fractures, degenerative disc disease (DDS), or spinal instability. This surgery often includes additional procedures to help relieve pressure on nerves and other areas of the spine.
Undergoing a lumbar spinal fusion will involve several important areas of your lower back and spine. Surgeons typically reach the affected region in your lower back by making an incision that allows access to the bony points of your vertebrae. The muscles along the side of your spine will be moved aside so that your surgeon can reach the lamina bone, which protects the spinal cord surface.
There are a few different surgical approaches your doctor will choose between depending on the condition of your spine and the type of fusion needed to correct your spinal issues.
This particular surgical method is useful for any region of the spinal column needing fusion of vertebrae. Posterior lumbar fusion will require an incision that goes through the back. Once the surgeon has inserted any needed screws or rods, removal of the top bone layer occurs so that graft material can be used to encourage growth and fusion.
Patients that need additional stability could undergo an anterior surgical method, which involves reaching the spine through an incision in the front of the body. Once your surgeon has access to your spine, the replacement of affected vertebral discs between the impacted vertebrae can take place. After this removal, a specially designed cage will be placed around the empty disc area to hold bone grafting material linking the surrounding vertebrae together.
For individuals needing stability on the front and back of their spine, an anterior/posterior fusion method may be the best option to ensure the best possible stability.
Patients may need this procedure if they have:
One can also expect any bone spurs to be removed, as well as discs that may need replacement.
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The primary purpose of undergoing lumbar spinal fusion is to reduce the movement of multiple vertebrae, which is often the culprit behind mechanical pain. This pain involves abnormal pressure or strain on the spine and is a frequent symptom for those with lower back issues. This instability of the spinal column has a direct impact on your nerves, causing them to become inflamed and irritated. As the spine’s vertebrae shift inward, the resulting additional pressure on the surrounding nerves and muscles can cause chronic pain and negatively impact a patient’s life.
Lumbar spinal fusion is generally a last resort after having tried several other treatment options for spinal pain and instability. Your doctor may be able to make this a minimally invasive surgical procedure, but you will still require general anesthesia.
Depending on the type of surgery, you may take a kneeling position on a table specifically designed for this type of operation. This positioning helps to minimize pressure on your spine and reduce blood loss during your procedure.
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With our state-of-the-art technology and board-certified team of surgeons, trust NJ Spine and Orthopedics to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and a minimally invasive treatment plan. If you or someone you love is suffering from the symptoms caused by a worn disc in the lower back and non-surgical solutions haven’t resolved the ongoing pain that is impacting your everyday life, lumbar spinal fusion may be your next step.
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