Designed to relieve pressure on the spine, lumbar fusion is done when patients have a ruptured, slipped, or degenerated disc in the lower, or lumbar, region of the spine. Patients suffering from pain in their lower back or even in their hips and legs should see a spine specialist to see if this procedure is right for them.
Candidates for lumbar fusion include those suffering from certain spinal fractures or degenerative disc disease, which is the breaking down of a spinal disc. The disc acts as a shock absorber for our spine and allows us to twist and bend. If the disc degenerates or herniates, you may experience symptoms such as numbness and pain radiating to the hips or legs. As a result, you may have to alter your lifestyle to manage the pain.
Spinal fusion is the conventional treatment for lumbar disc degeneration and herniation when surgery is necessary. For select candidates, this procedure can offer pain relief and restore function by restricting movement of the lumbar vertebrae and may involve removing any bony growths to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and other nerves causing pain in the lower back.
Lumbar fusion can benefit those suffering from any of the following symptoms or conditions:
- Deformities or curves of the lumbar spine
- Disc herniation in the lumbar spine
- Spondylolisthesis, or a slipped vertebra
- Vertebral fractures of the lumbar spine
- Weakness or instability of the spine