Reasons for Lumbar Fusion
For many people with discomfort, pain, or stiffness in their spine, the symptoms may be a result of ligament or muscle strains. These are often easily relieved with rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, medication such as an anti-inflammatory. However, this injury could be more serious if you are experiencing:
- Chronic pain associated with numbness
- Tingling in your limbs
- Weakness in your legs
In this situation, it is important to consult a qualified orthopaedic physician to examine the extent of your condition and help create an effective treatment plan for you. Before surgery is recommended, your doctor will run diagnostic imaging that includes:
- MRI Scans
- CT Scans
- EMG Tests
Depending on your medical history and the outcome of the diagnostic imaging, a lumbar fusion may be recommended. This procedure joins two of your vertebrae with a bridge of bone. In order to fuse the bones together, a bone graft is required and may be obtained from the patient’s hip, a cadaver, or it may be manufactured.
Aside from the fusion, the surgery may include:
- Discectomy – The removal of the damaged portion of a disc.
- Laminectomy – The removal of the posterior portion of a vertebra.
- The removal of a bone spur or other spinal growth.
Depending on your condition, your surgeon may choose an open fusion surgery or a minimally invasive fusion surgery (MIS).
- Open Surgery uses an incision large enough to directly view and access your spine. In some cases, an open procedure may be required. However, it can cause your recovery to take longer and you may have to stay in the hospital longer than if you have an MIS procedure.
- MIS surgery uses a smaller incision in which a surgeon works through a narrow channel. Because less disruption is caused to your muscles and boney anatomy is preserved, your recovery and hospital stay tend to be shorter than for an open procedure.
Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion Procedure
Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) is a type of minimally invasive fusion surgery in which access to the spine is gained from the side. Lumbar interbody fusion surgery involves removing the disc material between two vertebrae and replacing it with an implant. The implant restores the disc space to its normal height and provides support and stability while the spine heals. The LLIF approach allows your surgeon to avoid the major neural and vascular structures that surround the spine, reducing the risk to these structures compared to other approaches. The LLIF approach also allows your surgeon to restore proper disc height and spinal alignment and may relieve your pain more effectively than other approaches.
Use of Rods to Support the Spinal Column
In addition to the fusion itself, rods may be used to increase the stability of the spinal column. As the body ages, degeneration begins to naturally occur in discs, ligaments, and joints. This can gradually lead to a spinal deformity or cause additional problems. A lumbar fusion can help prevent a spinal deformity from getting worse, or correct it all together.
What to Expect From a Lumbar Fusion
The main goals of a minimally invasive spinal lumbar fusion are to relieve pain and provide improved spinal support. This is done by releasing pinched nerves and providing stability to the lumbar vertebrae. Once the fusion recovery is complete, nerve pain and spinal problems should be things of the past!
Why Beacon Orthopaedics?
The spine surgeons at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have successfully provided relief from lumbar pain to thousands of patients in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Since Beacon Orthopaedics is an independent practice, we are able to adopt new medical technologies quickly, which means our patients have access to best treatment options.
Our spine team takes time to learn your medical history and understand your goals before creating the optimal treatment plan for you. If you are in need of lumbar fusion in Cincinnati, Beacon Orthopaedics should be first on your list. Our team of dedicated professionals will consult with you to decide the best course of action in dealing with your spine pain.