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Lumbar Fusion

What is a Lumbar Fusion?

A minimally invasive lumbar fusion is a common spinal surgical procedure conducted by our board-certified neurosurgeons at NeuroSpine Plus. It is typically recommended as a means to treat lower back pain due to injury or prolonged wear and tear.

A lumbar fusion surgery differs based on the location of pain in your spine and the area required for treatment. From our advanced diagnostic imaging and examination, your neurosurgeon will determine whether you need a lumbar spinal fusion, cervical spinal fusion, or sacroiliac fusion. Based on the treatment area, you’ll be then briefed about one of the following procedures:

This effective procedure reduces painful movement and restores the stability of your spine, allowing you to move freely again. Our patient-centric approach ensures we address the root cause of your pain and find you the appropriate treatment to live your life free of back pain.


What conditions are treated with a lumbar fusion?

Our specialist surgeons conduct lumbar surgery procedures to mainly correct a problem or alleviate your pain. In particular, they help:

  • Realign your spine: Correct issues with the formation of your spine; for example, if you have scoliosis or kyphosis that causes abnormal curvatures to your spine.
  • Degenerative disc disease: Damaged spinal discs subject to wear and tear.
  • Spinal weakness or instability: When there’s too much movement between two spinal bones, causing spinal instability.
  • Spinal stenosis: Narrowing of your spinal canal, often leading to compression of the spinal cord.
  • Spinal tumors: Cysts or tumors in your spine causing spinal instability.
  • Spinal fractures and compression fractures: Fractures arising from trauma, stress on the spine or underlying conditions weakening the bones.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Where your spinal vertebra slips forward and presses on the spinal cord.

At NeurospinePlus, we only opt for spinal fusions as a last solution to solving your back pain and spinal conditions. When needed, we look for less invasive and long-lasting treatments that can save you time out of your schedule and recovery to ensure you can move with ease. Our interdisciplinary approach will also incorporate physical therapy, chiropractic intervention, acupuncture,  medications, or pain management injections to treat your pain. If you fail conservative therapies, surgical intervention may be recommended.

How is a Lumbar Fusion Performed?

Before you undergo a lumbar fusion, your spinal surgeon will determine the least invasive and easiest entry point. This surgery uses a bone graft from your body (autograft) or a donor’s (allograft). You will be given general anesthesia by a trained anesthesiologist. You will be completely asleep before the procedure begins. Depending on pathology and surgical discussion, this procedure may take 1-3 hours. After you are asleep, you are carefully positioned onto your stomach and secured into place on the surgical table.


  1. An incision is made on the lumbar spine at the site of your planned surgery.
  2. With gentle surgical dissection and retraction, a pathway is created to expose the spine.
  3. The degenerated disc(s) are removed with specialized instrumentation and the affected nerve roots are freed from any bone spurs or compressing disc fragments.
  4. A surgical disc spacer (“interbody”) may be inserted into the space where your degenerated disc used to be.
  5. Titanium screws are placed above and below the disc space(s) to provide stability.

  1. Titanium rods are then used to connect screw heads and locked into place.
  2. Your incision is closed using dissolvable sutures with a specialized skin glue on top of the skin.
  3. You will likely have a small surgical drain exiting from below your incision.
  4. This is to empty any blood remaining from your procedure. It will be removed before your discharge.
  5. If advised by your surgeon, you will wear a supportive lumbar brace following surgery.

Over time, the levels operated on will ‘fuse’, or grow together, like one continuous bony structure.

What to expect following a lumbar fusion

Your postoperative healing progress will be closely overseen by our team of providers, ensuring a routine recovery. A member of our team will contact you within the first 48 hours of your procedure to monitor your progress. Your initial postoperative appointment will be scheduled within two weeks of your surgical date. A member of our team is always available to answer questions or address your concerns during your recovery period. General postoperative recommendations include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Take medications as prescribed for pain

  • Wash the incision with gentle antibacterial soap

  • No scrubbing or submerging the incision

  • No lotions, creams, oils, or ointments atop the incision(s)

When to contact your doctor's office

If you have concerns during your postoperative period to include, but not limited to the following:

  • Increased redness, drainage, or foul odor from your incision.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
  • Temperature of 100.4F degrees or above
  • Swelling or redness of your calf
  • Any new onset of pain, numbness, or weakness.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty voiding
  • Lack of bowel movement for several days

Lumbar fusion FAQs

At NeuroSpine Plus, we have a team of world-renowned spinal specialists who will diligently determine the root cause of your back pain. To learn if you qualify for a Lumbar Interbody Fusion, call our office for a consultation with one of our board-certified spinal specialists at 201-399-3388.

At NeuroSpine Plus, our surgeons are proficient at ensuring that every lumbar fusion is conducted with minimal scarring from a small incision. Our surgical team is highly skilled in microscopic technique, conducting all surgical procedures with the assistance of a surgical microscope to visualize and perform the most precise procedure to effectively reduce your pain

All surgical procedures have inherent risks associated with them from undergoing general anesthesia to postoperative complications. All potential risks associated with undergoing your individualized surgical plan will be discussed with a member of our board-certified spine specialists. 

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