What is Lumbar Spinal Fusion?

Lumbar spinal fusion is a surgical procedure aimed at permanently connecting two or more vertebrae in the lower back (lumbar region) to eliminate motion between them. The primary goal of this surgery is to reduce pain and improve stability in the spine.

lumbar spinal fusion

Several reasons can necessitate a lumbar spinal fusion:

  1. Degenerative Disc Disease: Over time, the intervertebral discs in the spine can degenerate or wear out, leading to pain and instability. By fusing the affected vertebrae, the motion causing pain can be restricted.
  2. Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition where a vertebra slips forward relative to the one below it. Fusion can be used to stabilize the slipped vertebra.
  3. Herniated Disc: If a disc herniation is severe and causes chronic pain or nerve impingement, the disc may be removed (a procedure called a discectomy) and the vertebrae around it may be fused to prevent instability.
  4. Spinal Stenosis: This refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal which can press on the nerves. Sometimes after decompressing the spine to relieve the pressure, fusion is performed to maintain spinal stability.
  5. Fractures or Injuries: A broken vertebra might need to be fused if it’s causing instability.
  6. Scoliosis or other Spinal Deformities: Fusion can help realign and stabilize the spine.

The procedure typically involves adding bone graft or bone-like material between the vertebrae. Over time, the bones grow together, similar to how a broken bone heals. Metal plates, screws, and rods might be used to hold the vertebrae together, so they can heal into one solid unit.

If you have any reason to believe that this procedure could alleviate your pain, consult with an experienced spine specialist. 

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.