Lumbar Spinal Fusion
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.
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 surgeon may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Your surgeon will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. Your surgeon 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. Your surgeon 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, your surgeon may use an artificial implant as the graft. Your surgeon will insert the graft or implant between the vertebrae to be joined together. Your surgeon may use screws or bands to hold the bones and graft in place. Your surgeon 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.
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