Several spinal procedures are performed to help alleviate pain and improve range of motion after an injury. This surgery involves the joining of adjacent vertebrae, which limits the motion at the affected spinal segment. Fusing two bones together may seem counterproductive to the integrity of the spine. On the contrary, spinal fusion can be quite beneficial. Here, we outline what this procedure can do.
- Increase the stability of the spine. Lumbar spinal fusion decreases the mobility and flexion in an affected joint. At first, this can look like a drawback. Upon closer evaluation, though, we see that fusion is necessary to put a halt to problems that stem from too much motion in the joint. When a part of the spine moves too much, the extended range of motion can cause herniated or bulging discs. By joining two vertebrae, the stability of the injured area is once again able to carry normal loads.
- Useful in a variety of situations. Spinal surgeons consider fusion procedures in a number of scenarios. Patients who have suffered a spinal fracture may get relief through fusion surgery, as may people with facet joint disease, spondylolisthesis, or who have had previous spinal surgery that was unsuccessful. Patients with nerve pain resultant from narrowed space in the spinal canal may also benefit from stabilization through spinal fusion. Although lumbar fusion can help with several unique conditions, it is important to note that surgeons do not jump to conclusions about what is best for any patient. Spinal surgery is a significant decision that requires sufficient consideration of alternative therapies, such as physical therapy.
- Fusion now may prevent subsequent surgery in the future. This doesn’t mean to rush into the idea of having a part of your spine fused. It means that an experienced spinal surgeon will weigh the benefits and costs of different procedures. For example, some lumbar spine issues may be treated with decompression surgery. This procedure preserves the flexibility of the spine but, as we’ve seen, that may not be the best thing for stability in every situation.
We understand that it is a big step to even consider having spine surgery. The gravity of surgery is not what it used to be. Spinal procedures are more minimally-invasive than ever, which significantly decreases risks compared to previous surgical techniques. To see how lumbar pain may be reduced, schedule a visit to our NYC office at 212-606-1004.