What can I expect after lumbar fusion surgery?

Lumbar fusion is a surgical procedure that can treat the most common spine conditions in the lower back by replacing one or more damaged discs with bone grafts and implants.

The traditional open spine procedure aims to reduce chronic pain resulting from nerve compression in a couple of ways: (1) by removing bone and disc material pressing against a nerve, and (2) by stabilizing the damaged area of the spine with a metal cage and rods. After traditional lumbar fusion surgery, patients must undergo an extensive recovery period that includes the first several days in the hospital. This recovery period gives the spine time to heal as well as the muscles time to rebuild after being detached from the spine.

How a lumbar spine fusion works

If you have experienced chronic lumbar (lower back) pain, your physician may recommend a more invasive form of treatment — like surgery — if conservative options do not appear to be helping.

Traditional lumbar fusion surgery is a highly invasive procedure that involves the following:

  • Two large incisions — one to access the spine, and one to harvest bone grafts from your hip bones
  • Cutting and pushing aside of muscle tissue
  • Removal of all or a portion of the damaged disc
  • Insertion of bone grafts, metal brackets and screws to provide stability to the spine

Because of the muscle disruption and highly invasive nature of this procedure, patients are at an increased risk of infection and failed back surgery syndrome compared to the patients who choose minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute.
Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative to invasive traditional open back surgery for lumbar pain. Our minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization procedures treat lumbar spine conditions without cutting or tearing the muscles around the spine. In order to maintain mobility in the lumbar spine, our surgeons replace the damaged disc with an artificial disc and/or bone grafts. This helps our patients heal more naturally than patients who undergo traditional open back surgery with a metal cage and screws.

If you would like more information about Laser Spine Institute’s more effective alternatives to traditional open back lumbar fusion surgery, contact us today. We can review your CT scan or MRI.

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