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Lumbar Spinal Fusion

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What do I need to know about lumbar spinal fusion?

Lumbar spinal fusion is a surgery to treat an injury or problems with your lumbar spine (lower back). In lumbar spinal fusion, 2 or more vertebrae are joined together using bone grafts or implants, screws, and rods. This will help stabilize your back and may reduce pain.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you donate blood before your surgery. It will be saved and given to you if you bleed too much during surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

  • You will be given medicine to keep you asleep and free from pain during the surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision in the skin of your lower back or side near the vertebrae. He may remove part of some of the vertebrae, disks between the vertebrae, or tissue near the area.
  • Your surgeon may take a small piece of bone from your hip to use as a bone graft. Instead, he may use an artificial implant as the graft. He will insert the graft or implant between the vertebrae to be joined together. He may use screws or bands to hold the bones and graft in place. He will close the incision with stitches and cover it with bandages.

What are the risks of lumbar spinal fusion?

Surgery may cause bleeding or an infection. You may be at an increased risk for blood clots or have problems with your lungs. Nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and bones near your spine may be damaged. You may develop weakness or numbness in your legs or lose bladder and bowel function. Even after a successful surgery, you may still have back pain or problems moving your back or legs.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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