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About the lumbar fusion surgery procedure

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Lumbar fusion surgery is a necessary surgical procedure for many Minnesota residents that have back pain due to workplace wear and tear. The procedure is useful in treating chronic lower back pain by fusing two or more vertebrae in the lower back to form a single, solid bone that stabilizes the spine. Lumbar fusion surgery is used to treat various spinal conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.

When do doctors recommend lumbar fusion surgery?

The surgery is typically recommended after non-surgical treatments such as medications, injections and physical therapy have failed to provide adequate relief. The decision to undergo the surgery is based on the patient’s condition, medical history, symptoms and imaging studies that determine the level of damage to the lumbar spine region.

Types of lumbar fusion surgery

There are different types of lumbar fusion surgery techniques, including anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), and lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF). The choice of technique depends on the location and severity of the patient’s condition, the surgeon’s preference and the patient’s medical history.

The procedure

Lumbar fusion surgery is performed under general anesthesia and can take several hours to complete. The surgeon makes an incision in the lower back and removes the damaged or degenerated disc between the vertebrae.

The surgeon then inserts a bone graft or synthetic material into the space where the disc was removed. The bone graft stimulates the growth of new bone tissue, which fuses the adjacent vertebrae.

Potential drawbacks

Although lumbar fusion surgery is generally considered safe, it carries some risks, including infection, bleeding, nerve damage and failure to fuse. Patients should carefully conduct their own risk vs. benefit analysis before making a decision. Workers’ compensation will generally cover a patient’s medical expenses if the back pain is job-related.

Finding relief from severe back pain

Lumbar fusion surgery can provide an answer to those experiencing chronic lower back pain. The surgery aims to stabilize the spine, reduce pain and improve spinal function. Patients should make their decision to undergo the surgery after a thorough evaluation by a spine specialist who will outline the probability of the procedure’s success.

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