An alternative to traditional spinal fusion to treat degenerative disc disease

Spine fusion surgery for degenerative disc disease is almost always considered a last resort. In most cases, patients who suffer from back pain, tingling, numbness or other symptoms associated with nerve compression caused by a degenerating disc can find relief nonsurgically through methods such as medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, etc. Only if chronic symptoms persist after several weeks or months of conservative treatment will a physician typically recommend spine surgery. If you find yourself in this frustrating situation, Laser Spine Institute now offers several minimally invasive stabilization alternatives to highly invasive, traditional open spinal fusion surgery. One such procedure is known as lateral lumbar interbody fusion.

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion for degenerative disc disease

A lateral lumbar interbody fusion is similar to traditional open spine fusion surgery in that the goals of each type of procedure are the same: to alleviate discogenic pain (pain originating from a damaged disc) and other symptoms and to permanently stabilize the affected vertebral segment. A lateral lumbar interbody fusion from Laser Spine Institute involves:

  • The use of a small incision to provide access to the deteriorating disc
  • No disruption of muscle tissue
  • The removal of the disc material responsible for causing symptoms, either from nerve compression or discogenic discomfort
  • The insertion of bone graft material and metal implants to stabilize the affected vertebral segment

More differences between a lateral lumbar interbody fusion and open back spine fusion surgery

In addition to the minimally invasive nature of a lateral lumbar interbody fusion, the procedure requires much less time for a complete recovery than traditional open spine surgery. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing for a streamlined experience and an elimination of hospital-associated costs. There also is significantly less risk of muscle damage and infection in the immediate aftermath of lateral lumbar interbody fusion compared to a traditional open spine procedure. Lateral access spine surgery can treat a variety of conditions including herniated discs, degenerative scoliosis, nerve impingement, certain tumors and instability and pain resulting from disc degeneration.

To learn more about a lateral lumbar interbody fusion, or to find out if you might be a candidate for one of Laser Spine Institute’s other minimally invasive, outpatient spine procedures, contact us today to speak to one of Spine Care Consultants.