Lumbar Microsurgery

What is lumbar fusion?

Lumbar fusion is surgery designed to limit the motion of a painful segment of vertebrae in your lower back to alleviate chronic pain. During the procedure, we may add a bone graft to part of your spine to allow bones to fuse together. It’s a process that helps mimic the normal healing process of broken bones.

Why might I require lumbar fusion?

There are several reasons we may recommend lumbar fusion. Examples include:

  • Spinal instability
  • Spinal weakness
  • Scoliosis or other spine deformities
  • Severe arthritis of the spine
  • Recurrent herniated disc
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Spinal stenosis with associated instability
  • Spondylolisthesis

If you’ve tried conservative treatments like physical therapy and steroid injections, and still experience pain, surgery may be the next step.

To be sure you’re a good candidate for the procedure we review your medical history, asks about your symptoms, complete a physical exam, and we may use imaging tests like X-rays or an MRI.

What should I expect during the procedure?

Prior to lumbar fusion, the anesthesiologists use medicine to put you to sleep so you don’t feel any pain. We use innovative guidance technology during the procedure for better precision and accuracy, smaller incisions, less bleeding, and a shorter recovery time.

An incision is made in your back to gain access to your vertebrae and bone grafts are used to fuse two vertebrae together. We place the graft between two vertebrae and may use metal screws, rods, or plates to hold vertebrae together while they heal.

What happens after lumbar fusion?

You might require a hospital stay for a day or two after spinal fusion. We help you manage post-surgery discomfort while you heal. Plan on having somebody drive you home. Call us if you experience signs of infection such as fever, redness, swelling, or tenderness.

In the several months it takes for your spine to completely heal, we may recommend you wear a brace to keep the spine properly aligned. About a month after the surgery we prescribe a physical therapy program to accelerate healing, improve range of motion, and build strength and flexibility.

What is cervical fusion?

Cervical fusion, also known as cervical surgery or cervical spinal surgery, joins, or fuses, two or more bones in the neck (cervical spine).

There are two main kinds of cervical fusion:

Anterior cervical fusion
During anterior cervical fusion, our team accesses your neck vertebrae through the front, where we remove a damaged disc in order to decompress your spinal cord or nerves. Once we remove the disc, we fuse together the two vertebrae that were surrounding the disc.

This type of cervical fusion works well for degenerative disc disease and herniated discs, among other conditions. We usually opt for the anterior approach to avoid disrupting the posterior musculature of the neck, if it is possible to achieve the desired surgical outcome this way.

Posterior cervical fusion
During posterior cervical fusion, our team makes an incision in the back of your neck and adds bone graft to the backside of your cervical vertebrae.

Posterior cervical fusions can correct cervical spine deformities, like those caused by kyphosis, help straighten the spine, or stabilize your cervical spine after dislocation or fracture. They can also keep two vertebrae from grinding against one another.

What materials can fuse cervical vertebrae?

Our team can fuse your bones together using a number of materials, including:

Bone graft
Bone graft is transplanted bone that is either acquired from a bone bank or taken from somewhere else in your body. Sometimes, we use artificial bone graft.

During surgery, we insert this piece of bone between adjacent vertebrae, where the bone graft stimulates new bone growth and helps the existing bones grow together.

Metal implants
Our team can also hold vertebrae together using metal implants. The implants stabilize the bones so that they can eventually grow together in the right position.

Metal plates
Similarly, we can join adjacent vertebrae with metal plates.

Am I a good candidate for cervical fusion surgery?

Candidates for cervical surgery include those who have:

  • A misaligned vertebrae
  • Sustained an injury that destabilized the neck
  • An empty space where the team removed a herniated disc

Cervical fusion may also work well for patients who have just received treatment for conditions like spinal stenosis, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, or arthritis damage, and need support in their spine.

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