A fusion in the spine is performed to stop the motion in between the vertebrae within the spine that normally keeps the nerve trapped between bony movements. A lumbar fusion is a type of lumbar disc replacement surgery; the surgeon will replace the damaged disc with bone that will eventually heal in place. Most back pain is a manifestation of age related, and genetically predetermined spinal degeneration.
Treatment for spinal diseases focuses on promoting function and managing symptoms. Patients suffering with spinal stenosis, bulging discs, and degenerative disc disease typically undergo conservative treatments of activity modification, physical therapy, oral steroids, anti-inflammatories, and steroid injections. If these treatments have failed, varying on the severity of the impingement in the spine and the patient’s pain, a lumbar fusion may be appropriate.
The surgery is typically 2 hours long and normally requires at least one night observation at the hospital. Your surgeon will insert a bone graft, or pins and screws to provide your spine, nerves, and discs the allotted space they require to properly function without being tightened. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
During post-operative stage, restrictions of bending, twisting, and lifting are enforced to ensure proper healing of the discs. Patients are recommended to wear a back brace the first couple of weeks when moving around to help you restrict from strenuous activities. Soreness at incision site is expected following surgery for 1-2 weeks. Relief of pain is typically experienced within the first week although full recovery may take up to 6 months.