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Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

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Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery Lawsuit

Spinal fusion surgery is a surgery most often performed on the lower back to permanently connect two or more vertebrae so as to eliminate motion between the two vertebrae. The back injury lawyers at Purchase, George and Murphey, P.C. have experience with cases involving spine fusion surgery and here offer information, links, and animated demonstrations of the technique for people considering spine fusion surgery for themselves or their loved ones.

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Click on the links to see an ANIMATION or a VIDEO of a lumbar spinal fusion surgery.

Spinal fusion is surgery to connect two or more vertebrae in your spine, eliminating motion between them.

Spinal fusion involves placing a bone graft to fill the space between two spinal vertebrae. The bone graft may be in a preformed shape, or it can be contained within a plastic, carbon fiber, or metal cage. Your surgeon may use plates, screws, or rods to hold the vertebrae and graft in place in order to promote healing after the surgery. Once the bone graft heals, the vertebrae are permanently connected.

There are two main types of lumbar spinal fusion that may be used alone or together:

  1. Posterolateral fusion places the bone graft between the transverse processes. The vertebrae are then held together with screws and/or wire through the pedicles and by attaching to a metal rod on each side of the vertebrae.
  2. Interbody fusion places the bone graft between the vertebra where the intervertebral disc is found. The disc is removed. A device is often placed between the vertebra to maintain spine alignment and disc height. The device can be made from either plastic or titanium. The fusion then occurs between the endplates of the vertebrae.

Three types of interbody fusion are:

  1. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) – the disc is accessed from an anterior (toward the front of the body) abdominal incision.
  2. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) – the disc is accessed from a posterior (toward the back of the body) incision.
  3. Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) – the disc is accessed from a posterior incision on one side of the spine.

In most cases, the fusion also includes the placement of screws, rods or plates, or cages to stabilize the vertebra. The fusion process typically takes 6-12 months after surgery. During this time, external bracing (orthotics) may be required. If fusion does not occur, patients could require re-operation.

Your doctor might recommend spinal fusion to treat the following spine problems:

  • Broken (fractured) vertebrae. Not all broken vertebrae require spinal fusion. Some heal without treatment. But if a broken vertebra makes your spinal column unstable, spinal fusion surgery may be necessary.
  • Spinal weakness or instability. Your spine may become unstable if there’s abnormal or excessive motion between two vertebrae. Spinal fusion can be used to restore spinal stability in such cases.
  • Spondylolisthesis. In this spinal disorder, one vertebra slips forward and onto the vertebra below it. Spinal fusion may be needed to treat spondylolisthesis if the condition causes severe back pain or nerve crowding that produces leg pain or numbness.
  • Herniated disk. For the treatment of a small portion of people with a recurrent herniated disk, spinal fusion may be used to stabilize the spine following removal of a damaged disk (discectomy).
  • Chronic low back pain. Spinal fusion may be used to restrict spinal motion in an effort to relieve chronic low back pain that cannot be attributed to a specific disorder.

The Erie back injury lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. have experience with cases involving spinal fusion surgeries. These cases often result from car crashes, motorcycle accidents, or slip & falls. Our primary goal and objective is to make sure that our clients and their families receive the compensation and resources they need to treat and manage their spine injury and to compensate them for their losses.

Call Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. today to schedule your free consultation with an Erie spine fusion surgery lawyer. You can also fill out our online contact form.