Spinal Fusion Surgery
Posterolateral lumbar fusion is spine surgery that involves placing bone graft between elements in the back, or posterior, of the spine, leaving the disc space intact. The procedure may be performed using minimally invasive surgical techniques.
What is Spinal Fusion Surgery?
Spinal fusion is a surgical technique in which one or more of the vertebrae of the spine are joined together (fused) to stop them from moving against each other. This is done by placing bone grafts or bone graft substitutes between the affected vertebral bone. The graft material acts as a binding medium and also helps to maintain normal disc height – as the body heals, the vertebral bone and bone graft eventually grow together to join the vertebrae and stabilize the spine.
Why Do I Need This Procedure?
There are a number of reasons your surgeon may recommend spinal fusion. This procedure is frequently used to treat:
- One or more fractured (broken) vertebrae
- Spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebral bone over another)
- Abnormal curvatures of the spine, such as scoliosis or kyphosis
- Protruding or degenerated discs (the cartilaginous “cushions” between vertebrae)
- Instability of the spine (abnormal or excessive motion between two or more vertebrae)
Spinal fusion is typically recommended only after conservative treatment methods fail. Your surgeon will take a number of factors into consideration before making this recommendation, including the condition to be treated, your age, health and lifestyle and your anticipated level of activity following surgery. If you are considering spinal fusion, please discuss this treatment option thoroughly with your spinal care provider.