Do You Suffer from Chronic Back Pain
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands who suffer from chronic back pain due to a spinal condition, you have most likely experienced a change to your physical routine as well as your lifestyle. For those suffering from a spinal condition, you may have tried conventional methods of treatment and have experienced temporary relief or at least alleviated the pain and gained some mobility for a short while. Unfortunately, many patients suffering from spinal conditions in the lumbar region need to explore more unconventional methods i.e. lumbar spinal fusion.
What is Lumbar Spinal Fusion
Lumbar fusion or lumbar spinal fusion is a form of back surgery that is performed to treat degenerative disc disease or other degenerative spinal conditions. A lumbar fusion may also be performed to treat fractures, tumors or deformities of the spine. The word lumbar references the area of the back (lower) and the term spinal fusion references joining the bits of bone that are placed in either the front or the back of the spine in the disc space. The reason for this is to allow for the bone to fuse to the section of the spine where the bone is placed. The body has a natural ability to heal itself and so by placing these bits of bone between two vertebrae, the body would heal itself as though it were a broken bone.
The purpose of lumbar spinal fusion is to alleviate back pain that is caused by motion of the spine in the affected area. The fusion actually decreases or eliminates motion in the area of the spine affected.
It is important to note that the lumbar fusion procedure does not take right away, but rather the process can take a few months and in some cases, over one year, for the spine to fuse.
Candidates for Lumbar Spinal Fusion
If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions, you may be a candidate for lumbar spinal fusion surgery.
- Do you have ongoing lower back pain?
- Does this pain affect your ability to live a normal lifestyle?
- Does this pain affect your ability to have a regular routine of sleep and exercise?
- Does this pain affect your ability to perform your normal work duties?
- Have you determined the cause of your lower back pain and tried conventional forms of treatment?
Risks for Lumbar Fusion
As with all surgery, there are risks or complications that may arise as a result of the surgery and if lumbar spinal fusion has been recommended to you by your doctor, it would be recommended that you obtain a second opinion.
There is the conventional lumbar spinal fusion surgery, however with the ever evolving medical field, these traditional fusion surgeries can also be offered as a minimally invasive procedure and the benefits to having this type of surgery far outweigh those of conventional or conservative surgery.
The risks for minimally invasive lumbar fusion is far less than traditional lumbar fusion.
Some of the benefits in opting to have the minimally invasive procedure are:
- No hospital stay
- No general anesthesia
- Minimal scarring due to small incision
- High success ratio
- Quick return to normal lifestyle and work
Given that patients now have a choice of conventional or minimally invasive techniques the frequency of lumbar fusions is higher than it has been.