Lumbar Spine Fusion
What is a Lumbar Spine Fusion?
Fusion or 'arthrodesis' of the lower (lumbar) spine involves positioning screws or plates along or through the vertebrae to keep the bones aligned.
This surgery is usually only appropriate for patients with severe symptoms (back pain, often with symptoms in the legs, buttocks or affecting bowel or bladder function) of disorders affecting the spine, including:
- lumbar spinal stenosis,
- disc herniation & sciatica
- Spine instability or dislocation (see Spondylolisthesis) and deformity (see Scoliosis)
In many of the above conditions, non-surgical methods will have been attempted first. Surgery is only considered when all other methods have failed and symptoms are still persistent and significant, or when serious complications are thought to be imminent.
Fusion is often an effective method of relieving arthritic pain and stabilising the spine. It can also be combined with decompression of the spine and nerves to relieve symptoms of nerve irritation. However, the loss of movement in the vertebra leaves the back with reduced flexibility.