Traditional anterior posterior lumbar fusion and minimally invasive alternatives

If you are experiencing severe symptoms related to a degenerative spine condition, such as a herniated disc, that have not responded to conservative treatments, your doctor may have recommended a traditional open spine surgery called anterior posterior lumbar fusion.

Patients exploring spine surgery should have an understanding of the risks and difficulties involved, as well as the full range of procedures available. Advances in medical technology and surgical technique have allowed for the development of minimally invasive procedures that take a muscle-sparing approach to the spine while still accomplishing the same goals as a traditional fusion. By learning more about both types of spine surgery, we hope you can make an informed and confident decision about your care that gives you the best chance of returning you to the quality of life you deserve.

Overview of an anterior posterior lumbar fusion

During a traditional anterior posterior lumbar fusion procedure, the surgeon accesses the degenerative area of the spine through an incision in your abdomen and through an incision in your lower back. Next, the damaged disc will be removed. Bone graft material is then inserted into the space previously occupied by the damaged, bulging or herniated disc. Pedicle screws and rods are sometimes used to stabilize the segment. Ideally, the inserted bone material and the vertebrae will grow together and form a solid section of bone that is highly stable.

A traditional open spinal fusion relies on implants and bones fusing together for its success. However, there is a risk that new bone formation will not successfully occur, resulting in a failed lumbar fusion. Signs of a failed spinal fusion can include the following:

  • A return of your original symptoms
  • Additional symptoms, like numbness or tingling, that could indicate nerve damage
  • Pain in other regions of the spine
  • Inability to fully recover

In addition to the risk of complications like fusion failure, traditional open spine fusions also require an overnight hospital stay, a large muscle-disrupting incision and a lengthy recovery period.

Minimally invasive alternatives to fusion

As a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open fusion procedures, Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive stabilization surgery. While these procedures involve disc removal and the insertion of stabilizing implants, our surgeons are able to accomplish this through a small incision and the use of muscle-sparing techniques.

At Laser Spine Institute, our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery. To learn more, contact a member of our team today and ask for your no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.