You may think that having spinal fusion surgery is rare and a big deal, but spine surgeons are constantly becoming more and more adept at performing this operation. Indeed, lumbar fusion – which is surgery in the lower spine, or the lumbar region – is now often done as a minimally invasive procedure, and you may be able to go home later the same day.
The main reasons why a spine surgeon would recommend lumbar fusion surgery is to treat debilitating arthritis in the spine, painful or debilitating scoliosis, or to repair the back due to a herniated disc. Let’s talk about what’s involved in a lumbar fusion, and where you can go in the Denver and Colorado Springs area to achieve lasting relief from your back pain or to address other back problems.
What Is Lumbar Fusion?
Your spine has three general areas: the cervical spine in your neck, the thoracic spine in your mid-back, and the lumbar spine in your lower back. Debilitating pain in the lower back causes the highest frequency of absenteeism from work worldwide, so it is very common.
In a lumbar fusion, two or more adjacent vertebrae in the lumbar spine are surgically fused. Your spine surgeon will first remove the disc (which is usually damaged if this surgery is necessary) between the vertebrae, and the doctor will insert bone graft material in its place. The surgeon might use screws, rods, or plates to hold the vertebrae together while the bones heal.
What this does is to facilitate natural healing of the bones together. This same healing process occurs if you suffer a broken bone. Bone is tissue, and it heals like tissue.
Why Would You Need Lumbar Fusion?
If you have chronic low-back pain, hip pain, or leg pain, your back surgeon may recommend lumbar fusion if the cause of your pain is one of the following:
- Arthritis in the joints between the spinal vertebrae
- Congenital spinal deformities, such as abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
- Degenerative disc disease, which can lead to painful compression of the spinal cord and nerves
- Spinal fracture
- Spinal infection
- Spinal instability due to the deterioration of muscles, ligaments, and discs supporting the spine
- Spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal that houses the spinal cord (this can impinge on the sciatic nerve and cause lower back pain)
- Spondylolisthesis, which is when a vertebra slips out of its normal place in the spine
- Spinal tumors
Spine Surgeon in Aurora, CO
Here at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, our board-certified spine surgeons specialize in neck and back pain treatments, including lumbar fusion and disc repair surgery. Our specialists are well-versed in assessing and treating a wide range of spinal disorders, and we can diagnose the cause of your back pain and recommend treatment options for you.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call us today at (303) 790-1800 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you enjoy life without back pain!