DAVE WATTS, MD
Lumbar Fusion is a surgical procedure used to join two or more vertebrae within the spine. Lumbar Fusion is a procedure usually opted for the treatment of lower back problems.
Lumbar fusion surgery is used to treat different types of spine problems like degenerated discs, spinal infections or tumors, traumatic injury of the spine, scoliosis or kyphosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), recurrent disc herniation, spondylolisthesis or slipping of the spine bones, and an unstable spine.
The surgeon can go for an open spine surgery or the laparoscopic surgery.
The surgeon may choose to access the operation area from the back, abdomen, or neck. It depends on the area which needs to be treated.
The surgeon will use a piece of bone from one part of the body or donated bone bank which will be transplanted between adjacent vertebrae. The surgeon will use screws, plates, or cages to secure the bone graft, firmly holding the spine.
The surgeon performs a discectomy, removing a portion of the diseased or damaged material. Once the damaged portion is removed, the surgeon will trim or remove the roof of the vertebra to relieve pressure on the nerves. This procedure is called laminectomy. Once this procedure has been completed, the bone graft is placed alongside the vertebrae to be fused. Screws play a vital role in this fusion. Rods are also used to connect screws, improve stabilization, and hold bones together.
Some of the surgery related complications the patient might face include:
Pain at the bone graft site
Formation of blood clots in the legs
Pseudarthrosis is a painful condition which occurs because of non-healing bone effusion and growth of false joints at the site.
Damage to the spinal nerves
Loss of sensation
Problems with bowel or bladder control
Dislocation of the implant