Back pain can bring a lot of disruptions to our daily lives. While non-surgical methods should be the first line of treatment, sometimes surgery is needed to address the pain and correct the issue. In this blog, we talk about spinal fusion and disc replacement as two surgeries that address lower back pain. As always, we encourage you to discuss this information with your spinal surgeon to determine which one will benefit you specifically.
This has been a traditional approach when it comes to treating pain from lumbar degenerative disease. The vertebrae surrounding the painful disc are fused together using a bone graft. Bone graft is placed between the vertebrae causing the two vertebral bodies to grow together into one long bone.
This makes a part of the spine immobile. Metal plates, screws or rods may be used to help hold the vertebrae together while the bone graft heals. Limiting motion in this case eliminates the pain. A couple of surgical approaches exists to this method, such as front, back or both.
Usually, a 2- or 3-day hospital stay is required, however, this is changing and fusions are now done in a minimally invasive way as day surgery.
Lumbar Disc Replacement
During this procedure, the disk that is causing pain is removed and an artificial one is implanted. The natural motion of the spinal segment is preserved. Disc replacement addresses the pain by reducing instability and muscle tension caused by painful micro-motions at the degenerated disc level.
This is a relatively new procedure as compared to lumbar fusion. It has been available in the US since 2000. Not everyone is a good candidate for a disc replacement, however.
Both Lumbar fusion and disc replacement have their pro and cons. According to the studies, similar rates of complications happen in both. Which one is right for you? Discuss both options with your neurosurgeon, ask what experience they have with both and what they think will work best for you. Then, we always suggest a second opinion when it comes to spinal surgery.
If you would like to explore your private spinal surgery options we can get your diagnostic tests reviewed by a neurosurgeon. Give us a call to find out more toll-free 877-344 3544