Fusion of the Lumbar Spine
By Ehren Allen, PT, Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
What is a Fusion of the Lumbar Spine?
The quick answer is a fusion of the lumbar spine is a procedure that connects 2 or more bones (vertebrae) in the low back. An Orthopedic Spine Surgeon performs a fusion surgical procedure. The lumbar fusion of the spine can be from the front, the back, or the side. A fusion of the spine or back can be done with several different surgical techniques. To find out which procedure would be best for you, talk to one of our orthopedic spine specialists.
Why a Spinal Fusion?
This procedure is typically an option when other conservative options do not help alleviate low back and leg symptoms. It may be the course of treatment for:
- severe disk degeneration
- spinal deformities
What is a fusion of the spine?
The actual fusion of the vertebrae is when your Spine Surgeon places the bone graft between your vertebrae. The bone graft can be taken from your body or from a grafting bank. Some surgeons may choose to use a synthetic substance instead of the bone graft. The fusion area is held in place by metal plates, screws and rods. Your surgeon may have you wear a brace for protection after the surgery.
Physical therapy will help you recover after the fusion surgery. PT will focus on improving flexibility and motion while protecting the fusion. Core stabilization exercises will be used to return you back to ADL’s and other activities. It is important to work with a therapist who understands the complexity of the surgical procedure. Our JOI therapists work together with the spine surgeons to develop treatment protocols to obtain the best outcome.
To schedule with physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045.
If you want to learn more about the anatomy of the spine, please go to this VIDEO.
Related Articles: Lumbar Fusion, Best Core Stabilization Exercises, Robotic Spine Surgery at JOI, & Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.