Why Is Lumbar Fusion at L4-L5 So Common?

If you have researched lumbar fusion, you have probably noticed that most fusions happen at the L4-L5 vertebrae. Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 is a fairly common procedure. It involves the permanent fusion of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. The fusion is performed to help relieve chronic back pain associated with several common spine conditions.

Before you can determine if our minimally invasive lumbar fusion — an effective alternative to highly invasive traditional open back fusion — is the right procedure for you, you must find learn about why a lumbar fusion in the L4-L5 vertebrae is a common treatment for chronic lower back pain. At Laser Spine Institute, we believe that our patients should be well educated about their spinal conditions and the treatment options available so each patient can make an informed decision about the best treatment option for his/her needs.

As you continue to research our minimally invasive lumbar fusion surgery, please contact us with any questions or concerns you have. Our care team is ready to help you find the pain relief option that is right for you.

The Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine

Before we can discuss the reason why so many minimally invasive lumbar fusions happen at the L4-L5 vertebrae, we must first go over a brief overview of the lower spine. The spine is a complex structure comprised of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, ligaments, and other components. Many of these components play vital roles within the spine:

  • Vertebrae — These small bones make up the structure of the spinal column and help to protect the delicate spinal cord. There are 33 vertebrae, five of which are in the lumbar spine, located in the lower back.
  • Intervertebral discs — These spongy pads of cartilage separate adjacent vertebrae, absorb shock and help facilitate flexibility in the spine.
  • Ligaments — Ligaments connect bone to bone. Several ligaments in the spine hold vertebrae together and help with spinal stability.

Like any other part of the body, the components of the spine begin to degenerate over time due to age, repetitive stress and a variety of other factors. The lumbar spine is especially susceptible to degeneration because it supports more than half of the body’s weight and holds a large amount of stress in our day-to-day movements. The L4 and L5 are the last two vertebrae in the lumbar spine, which means that they hold the majority of the body’s stress and weight every day. For this reason, our minimally invasive lumbar fusion at L4-L5 is one of the most common lumbar fusions.

If you are interested in learning more about our minimally invasive lumbar fusion at vertebrae L4-L5, contact our Spine Care Consultants to schedule a review of your MRI and determine your candidacy for one of our procedures.