Lumbar fusion, also called spinal fusion, is just what it says — the welding of two or more vertebrae in the back. Fusing vertebrae allows them to heal into a single bone, reducing painful motion or restoring stability. In the practice of orthopedist Paul Brisson, MD, spinal fusion isn’t not the first choice, it’s recommended only after we pinpoint the source of back pain and other, non-invasive procedures don’t bring relief.
Why Consider Lumbar Fusion
Spinal fusion may help relieve pain caused by arthritis, a fractured vertebra, infection, herniated disks, lumbar degenerative disk disease, spinal decompression, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, tumors or the fact that we are just getting old and wearing out. These conditions may cause unnatural stretching of the nerves or the ligaments and muscles attached to the spine, causing unnatural motion. When that motion is eliminated, the pain usually follows.
How Does It Work?
To determine the exact source of pain and to plan your treatment, your orthopedist has numerous imaging tests (computerized tomography [CT] plus magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] or x-rays scans) to gather information. Once the data is analyzed fully and the nature of the problem is clearly understood, the medical team can determine which bones to fuse and how to approach it — from the front, the sides or the back, depending on the nature and location of the problem — and if they can employ new, minimally-invasive techniques which use smaller incisions.
A bone graft may be placed in the problem area to stimulate healing and increase bone production, helping the vertebrae merge into one solid bone. In the past, grafts were taken from the patient’s hip bones, which adds more to the surgery and, therefore, more to healing time, but it was the only way. New materials and options, developed in recent years, including bone banks and synthetic bone, have speeded recovery and lowered post-operative pain for many patients.
For added recovery success, immobilization is necessary — the bones will heal faster when they don’t move. Internal fixation means surgeons implant plates, screws and rods to hold the spine still. External fixation means using a back brace or similar device. Internal fixes generally hasten post-operative recovery, but added surgery always carries some additional risk.
Visit New York City’s Top Spinal Surgeon
Located just east of Madison Square Park on 25th Street in Manhattan, Dr. Brisson’s practice provides the best possible service to all his patients. He is a fully-qualified and well-respected member of the New York City medical community, with over 30 years of practice and a skilled staff to back him up. If you’re in pain, contact Dr. Paul M. Brisson, MD, today for a consultation. Hundreds of the Doctor’s previous patients are proof positive — you don’t have to live with back pain.