L4–L5 fusion procedures: advantages of a minimally invasive approach

Lumbar fusion at L4–L5 involves the permanent fusion of the fourth and fifth vertebrae in the lumbar (lower) region of the spinal column, which are the last two vertebrae in the lumbar spine and support much of the body’s stress and weight. The fusion is performed to stabilize the spine while helping to relieve chronic back pain and other symptoms caused by degenerative spine conditions like a herniated disc or osteoarthritis.

Traditionally L4–L5 fusion procedures have required a full open spine surgery that disrupts surrounding muscles, requires hospitalization and typically leads to a long recovery period. Due to advances in medical technology and surgical techniques, fusion procedures can now be performed using muscle-sparing techniques on an outpatient basis. While these fusion procedures have similar goals of relieving nerve compression and restoring stability to the L4–L5 lumbar motion segment in the lower back, each takes a different surgical approach.

Traditional open back fusion procedures

Traditional open back fusion performed on the L4–L5 vertebral junction is a highly invasive operation, requiring a surgeon to make a large incision and disrupt supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments to access the spine. Decompression of the spinal cord or nerve roots is then performed through the removal of the spinal anatomy putting pressure on the nerves. The L4–L5 disc is removed entirely and the empty disc space is implanted with bone graft material. Rods, plates and screws are used to affix the two vertebrae. Due to the highly invasive nature of open back fusion, patients undergoing this type of surgery must be hospitalized and are exposed to an infection rate as high as 19 percent.^

Minimally invasive stabilization

Thanks to new approaches in spine surgery and advances in medical technology, patients now have a less invasive option for open back fusion in the form of minimally invasive spine surgery. As an alternative to traditional open back L4–L5 fusion procedures, Laser Spine Institute offers a range of minimally invasive stabilization surgeries. Our board-certified surgeons+ can access the spine with a small incision, about an inch in length, which spares muscles and allows these procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis. This offers our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period compared to traditional open spine surgery. ^

Laser Spine Institute

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and since 2005 we have helped more than 75,000 people find the relief that they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about our state-of-the-art outpatient centers and our caring and dedicated team. We can offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.