Spinal fusion is a surgical technique used to join together two or more vertebrae in the spine and to minimize the pain cause by movement of these vertebrae. Fusion of vertebrae in lumbar portion of the spine is called as lumbar fusion and the surgery can be done as an open or minimally invasive procedure.
A minimally invasive lumbar fusion technique is used to treat fractured vertebra, lumbar instability, spine deformities – scoliosis or kyphosis, cervical disc hernias, tumors, back pain and failed back syndrome. Spondylolisthesis, a painful condition of the spine caused by disc displacement or slipped disc, can be treated with minimally invasive lumbar fusion technique. Several techniques are practiced for minimally invasive surgery. In minimally invasive lateral lumbar fusion procedure, a small incision of 2 inch will be made on patient's side. The muscles are moved apart and larger dilators are progressively placed down to the lumbar spine. Using specially designed instruments, through the dilator tube, the intervertebral disc is incised and removed. A bone graft or metal or plastic spacer is then placed between the vertebrae. This bone graft then usually heals, forming a solid bone.
The advantages of using minimally invasive lateral lumbar fusion technique include:
- Minimal damage to the adjacent tissues
- Reduced postoperative pain
- Reduced hospital stay
- Faster recovery
- Diminished blood loss