Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

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

For patients with the following conditions, if abnormal and excessive motion at a vertebral segment results in severe pain and inability to function, a lumbar fusion may be considered:

Other conditions that may be treated by a spinal fusion surgery include a weak or unstable spine (caused by infections or tumors), fractures, scoliosis, or deformity.

There are several types of spinal fusion surgery options. The most commonly employed surgical techniques include:

It is important to note that with any type of spine fusion, there is a risk of clinical failure (meaning that the patient’s pain does not go away) despite achieving a successful fusion.