What Is Lumbar Fusion?
Lumbar Fusion is a spinal procedure in which the vertebrae in the lower back (or lumbar spine) are surgically joined together, minimizing any movement of the vertebrae themselves. With many types of back injuries, pain occurs when the vertebrae shift and move against each other – so a lumbar fusion can help relieve pain by minimizing movement within the spinal column.
The main objective of the lumbar fusion is to decrease any back pain or discomfort. The procedure can also provide the patient increased stability and support to the spinal area.
Lumbar Fusion permanently joins two vertebrae together to reduce spine pain during daily activities.
What Conditions Can Lumbar Fusion Treat?
A doctor or back specialist may recommend a spinal fusion surgery for patients with the following symptoms:
- Persistent, long-term lower back pain
- A herniated disc (a bulge or break in one of the soft discs of the spinal column)
- Spinal stenosis (contraction of the spinal column, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves)
– Spondylolisthesis (when one vertebrae slips forward or backward, negatively affecting the vertebrae(s) farther down the spinal column)
- Weakness in the spinal area from infections or tumors
- Broken, fractured, or deformed vertebrae
- Spinal deformities from birth (such as scoliosis and kyphosis)
- Arthritic inflammation in the joints between vertebrae in the spine
- Degenerative disc disease (the deteriorating of the discs between the vertebrae)
How A Lumbar Fusion Is Performed
The main technique used in a lumbar fusion surgery is bone grafting, which fuses the vertebrae together naturally. Bone grafts supports can be artificial or taken from another area of an individual’s body, like a hip. The graft is a temporary measure of holding the vertebrae, and that the natural fusion of the vertebrae typically takes several months.
The Recovery Process
Patients typically stay in the hospital for 3-4 days following their spinal surgery, with pain medication provided to make the post-op period as comfortable as possible. The recovery period is similar to that of a bone fracture – you’ll be asked to restrict your activity levels for 6 weeks or until x-rays can show new bone growth over the bone graft. Each person’s body is different, and every patient will have a different experience with their recovery period.
Many patients can increase their activity level once a substantial amount of bone has grown, usually after 3-4 months in a younger patient or up to 4-6 months in an older patient. Your surgeon may recommend a brace and post-operative rehab exercises.
Why Choose the New Jersey Neck and Back Institute?
At the New Jersey Neck and Back Institute, our objective is getting our patients results that allow them to live happy, pain-free lives. Treatment for back pain can be hard to fully understand and navigate on your own.
When our patients first come through the door,
- Dr. Sandro LaRocca, our leading physician and orthopedic back surgeon, makes it a priority to listen and discuss the patient’s history and symptoms to ensure that a proper evaluation is given.
- Upon diagnosis, a comprehensive, individualized plan of action is created for each patient, which includes reasons for a particular procedure, and how the spine surgery procedure will be specifically conducted.
- Post-surgery, our neck and back team is there for you every step of the way, and our main goal is a quick and healthy recovery so that you can live a happy, pain-free life.