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Lumbar and Lumbosacral Fusion of the Posterior Column

Great Surgical Care at Marina del Rey Hospital

Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Lumbar and Lumbosacral Fusion?

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital provides a complete range of lumbar and lumbosacral fusion of the posterior column. All procedures are performed by skilled neurosurgeons in accordance with the highest standards of diligence and surgical precision.

Lower back pain is often caused by irregular or excessive movements of one or more vertebrae, the bones forming the spinal column. Surgical fusion of the vertebrae, also known as spondylosyndesis, is a procedure designed to weld together those bones and stop their motion in order to relieve pain and restore health.

The human backbone is divided into 31 segments going from the neck all the way down to the lower back. In most cases, the fusion of the posterior column is performed in the lower back area—in the lumbar and lumbosacral regions of the spine—due to the intense pressure and frequent motion that occurs at that level.

Spinal fusion soothes pain by removing the stinging oscillations and allows the spinal nerves to function naturally. As a result, patients rediscover the comfort of a normal life and the joy of moving without pain.

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital performs spinal fusion only in cases where other treatments—such as painkillers, physiotherapy, massage, etc.—do not provide any pain relief.

How Is It Done?

Lumbar and lumbosacral fusion of the posterior column starts with a medical evaluation. Our experienced neurosurgeons will examine the patient and prescribe a series of tests, which could include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), for an accurate image of the spinal nerves and discs
  • X-rays, for a clear image of the backbone
  • A myelogram, which uses a contrast dye to identify the pressure points on the spine or the nerves
  • A CAT scan might be used to obtain a detailed 3D image

Once scheduled for a lumbar or lumbosacral fusion of the posterior column, the patient will undergo general anesthesia to block the pain for the duration of the procedure.

During the procedure, the neurosurgeon will implant small bone parts between the injured vertebrae. The tiny fragments of bone will fuse with the injured vertebrae in order to create a new solid bone. While the bone fragments mold with the vertebrae the spine must remain still. Therefore, physicians often use internal rods in order to provide support and fixation.

How Long Will It Take?

A lumbar or lumbosacral fusion of the posterior column usually takes three to five hours, sometimes more.

Is It Painful?

The general anesthesia will provide total pain relief during the entire surgical procedure.

How Long Will I stay in Hospital After the Procedure?

A patient will remain in the hospital from two to four days, depending on their age, general health condition, and type of fusion.

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital routinely performs all types of lumbar and lumbosacral fusion of the posterior column. Our caring staff will accompany you every step of the way, providing you with comfort and all-inclusive services, and helping you to recover quickly and easily.

If you experience discomfort, stiffness and persistent pain in the lower back, spinal fusion can provide an effective relief.

Most of the time, the technique requires smaller incisions, which result in smaller scars, less hospital time, and a faster recovery. 

This procedure will stop the painful motion of the spine in the lower back, allowing patients to benefit from a renewed sense of freedom from pain.

What Happens After Surgery?

Following the procedure, patients might feel tired, thirsty, or cold. They will be administered painkillers or medications with good antinausea effects. At first, patients might need help performing everyday activities, but gradually their strength will increase.

Depending on the type of fusion performed, patients can usually return home in a day or two. Some may stay in the hospital for up to four days in certain cases.

The postoperative regimen is vital. Appropriate physical exercises are essential in order to get back in shape. Warm up is important. No bending, lifting, or twisting. Walking is also very important during recuperation. Patients are encouraged to walk as much as possible.

Physiotherapy or massage might be recommended in order to stabilize the spine and ensure proper recovery. Driving restrictions apply.

Risks and Complications

Complications are rare, but as with all surgery, lumbar and lumbosacral fusion of the posterior colum comes with a specific set of risks. Before the procedure, our experienced neurosurgeons will explain all the risks and complications associated with the procedure. These might include infections, incomplete bone fusion, blood clots, bleeding, nerve damage, numbness, tingling, paralysis, and adverse reactions to anesthesia.

Factors that might increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Overweight
  • Old age
  • Other pre-existing medical conditions

Are you experiencing lower back pain? We welcome you to contact our neurosurgeons to find out more about your condition and the treatment options available to you. Call us at 310.823.8911 to schedule an appointment today!

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