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.

Lumbar Spinal Fusion performed by orthopedic surgeon.

Image of Spine Surgeon performing Fusion of the Lumbar Spine


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:

  1. severe disk degeneration
  2. stenosis
  3. arthritis
  4. instability
  5. spinal deformities
Spinal Fusion

Spinal fixation system

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 are so important in the early rehab following a fusion.  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.

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.

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference. Finally, to make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

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