Minimally Invasive Lumbar Spinal Fusion: Things to Know

Minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion is a modern surgical technique designed to treat various spine conditions with less trauma and faster recovery compared to traditional methods.

Here are some things you should know about this procedure:

  1. What It Is: Minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion involves fusing two or more vertebrae in the lower spine to stabilize the area and alleviate pain. Unlike traditional open surgery, this technique uses smaller incisions and specialized instruments to minimize damage to surrounding tissues.
  2. Conditions Treated: This procedure is typically recommended for conditions like degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, and severe scoliosis. It’s an effective option when conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medications, or injections have not provided sufficient relief.
  3. Benefits: Minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion offers numerous advantages over traditional spinal fusion. The smaller incisions lead to less muscle and tissue damage, resulting in reduced postoperative pain, lower risk of infection, and minimal blood loss. Patients often experience a quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays.
  4. Surgical Technique: During minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion, surgeons use advanced imaging technology, such as fluoroscopy or intraoperative CT scans, to guide their instruments with precision. This ensures accurate placement of the hardware, such as screws and rods, needed to stabilize the spine.
  5. Recovery Time: Recovery from minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion is typically faster than from traditional spinal fusion. Most patients can expect to walk within a day or two after surgery and gradually return to normal activities within a few weeks. Physical therapy may be recommended to help restore strength and mobility.
  6. Potential Risks: As with any surgery, minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion carries potential risks, including infection, nerve damage, blood clots, and hardware issues. However, the minimally invasive nature of the procedure generally reduces these risks. It’s essential to discuss any concerns with your surgeon beforehand.
  7. Long-Term Outcomes: Many patients experience significant pain relief and improved function after minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion. The procedure has a high success rate, and most individuals can return to their regular activities, including work and exercise, with a better quality of life.

Understanding these aspects of minimally invasive lumbar spinal fusion can help you make informed decisions about your treatment options and set realistic expectations for recovery. Always consult with your healthcare provider to determine if this procedure is right for you.

Virginia Spine Specialists is an award-winning, minimally invasive spinal care practice with locations in Fredericksburg, VA and Manassas, VA. We also serve these Northern and Central Virginia locations: Haymarket, Gainesville, Culpepper, Front Royal, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Colonial Beach, Tappahannock and Lake Anna.