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Lumbar Fusion

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Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion

Lumbar fusion surgery, also known as lumbar spinal stenosis surgery, is a minimally invasive back surgery used to join, or fuse, two or more vertebrae in the lower back. The surgeon makes a small incision in the lower back, through the muscles, and offers crucial support where it’s needed most. The careful procedure is used to relieve pressure between two vertebrae which was most likely caused by some kind of degeneration of surrounding cartilage. Often, screws are placed into the vertebral bodies and connected with rods. This helps to stabilize the spine and can prevent chronic pain or other disorders from developing or worsening.

Spine Minivasive™ Minimally Invasive Spine Fusion – Low back pain (LBP) affects nearly 60% of Americans at some point in their lifetimes. More than 13 million patients see a doctor each year related to their LBP resulting in more than 300,000 spine fusions to help alleviate that pain. Our Spine Minivasive™ Minimally Invasive Spine Fusion procedure is an innovative step in helping our patients obtain relief for several common spine conditions.

This FDA-approved procedure uses a patient’s own bone (harvested from an adjoining vertebral facet) to create a natural platform to help stabilize the spine, thus decreasing both surgical complexity and risk of rejection.

Conditions Treated with Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Lumbar fusion surgery is performed for a variety of conditions including spondylolisthesis, spinal deformity and stenosis as well as in patients with previous surgery.

What to Expect Before the Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Once you have decided to have surgery, the following events take place:

  • A medical examination.
  • Chest X-ray, EKG and blood work.
  • You may be asked to have a neurological or psychological examination.
  • If taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications daily, stop these medications at least one week before the lumbar fusion surgery.
  • If you take prescription medications or other drugs, including herbals, ask your doctor how soon you should stop taking these before the lumbar fusion surgery.
  • Do not have anything to eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before surgery.
  • You will check into the hospital the morning of surgery.
  • Prior to the lumbar fusion surgery, you will be asked to sign permits for surgery, anesthesia, blood and blood products.

What to Expect During the Lumbar Fusion Surgery

  • An incision is made in the low back area.
  • Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) is used to determine the correct level(s) to be operated.
  • Bone graft is placed along both sides of the back part of the spine.
  • Screws may be placed in the vertebrae above and below the level to be fused.
  • The screws are connected with rods.
  • Surgery takes approximately 1-3 hours.

What to Expect After the Lumbar Fusion Surgery

  • You will be in the recovery room from 1 to 1½ hours.
  • The surgeon will contact your family while you are in recovery.
  • After going to a hospital room, you will be able to use a PCA pump to get medication for pain control. This machine controls the amount of medication that can be received.
  • Staff will usually get you out of bed the same day as the surgery.
  • The hospital stay is usually 1-3 days.
  • A brace or corset is prescribed to restrict bending and promote healing of the fused area.
  • You will be given any needed prescriptions and discharge instructions.
  • A set of exercises that you can do at home will be provided.
  • You will be able to ride in a car or plane upon leaving the hospital.
  • It is important to avoid twisting and bending backward.
  • Physical therapy is usually initiated after the first office visit with your doctor following surgery.

Lumbar Fusion Surgery Recovery

Recovery from lumbar fusion surgery varies greatly among patients and is dependent on the extent of the surgery as well as the age and health of the individual. Return to work also varies greatly among patients and is related to overall health and the type of work you do. It is important to note that back pain is seldom completely eliminated – the objective with fusion surgery is to reduce pain.