How Is Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery Done?

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A spinal fusion surgery is designed to stop the motion at a painful vertebral segment, which in turn should decrease pain generated from the joint. There are many approaches to lumbar spinal fusion surgery, and all involve the following process:
  • Adding bone graft to a segment of the spine
  • Set up a biological response that causes the bone graft to grow between the two vertebral elements to create a bone fusion
  • The boney fusion - which results in one fixed bone replacing a mobile joint - stops the motion at that joint segment
What are the potential complications of lumbar spine fusion surgery? Like any medical procedure, there are risks associated with spine fusion surgery. Certain patients are at high risk for pseudoarthrosis. In general, patients who smoke, use alcohol excessively, have diabetes, osteoporosis, are obese, or use certain medications (eg, steroids) are at risk for a failed low back fusion. Your surgeon will discuss your potential risk factors with you, and may prescribe a bone growth stimulator to be used after surgery to help you. Keyword: lumbar spinal fusion procedures; lumbar spinal fusion surgery
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