Types and alternatives to lumbar fusion

Lumbar fusion is a surgical procedure designed to alleviate lower back pain through the stabilization of two or more vertebral segments. The lumbar region of the spine, particularly the L4 to L5 level, is the most common location of spinal conditions. This includes herniated discs, bulging discs and spinal stenosis, which can produce neuropathic symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. The frequency of these conditions in the lower back is due to normal wear brought on by bending, lifting and twisting, as well as the amount of body weight supported by the lumbar vertebrae. To learn about the types of lumbar fusion and the minimally invasive alternatives available, read the following article.

Types of lumbar fusion

In general, lumbar fusion involves the removal of a portion of the spinal anatomy that is causing nerve compression. This can include the spinal disc and some or all of the rear vertebral arch. Then, depending on the type of fusion being performed, a bone graft might be inserted. In every type of fusion surgery, implants are used to help connect the affected vertebrae.

The location of the compressed nerve will determine the type of lumbar fusion to be performed. The difference boils down to point of entry:

  • Posterolateral gutter fusion — performed through the back
  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion — performed through the back and includes the removal of a spinal disc, followed by the insertion of a bone graft
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion — performed through the front of the body and includes the removal of a disc, followed by the insertion of a bone graft
  • Anterior and posterior fusion — performed through the front of the body and the back

Lumbar fusion alternative

More than 75,000 patients have found a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine lumbar fusion,^ in the form of the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our outpatient procedure performed using muscle-sparing techniques can help you find relief from your chronic back pain.

Through the use of a small incision that does not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, our highly skilled surgeons are able to relieve your pain and discomfort, allowing you to get back to your daily routine. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for our free MRI review.*