Posterior Lumbar Decompression and Fusion


A Posterior Lumbar Decompression and Fusion, also known as a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, is a procedure that is performed to fuse the spine in the lower back using a type of cage inserted into the spinal disc area. This is a procedure that is usually performed in order to treat spinal conditions that narrow the spine and put pressure on the back.

 What is it? 

A Posterior Lumbar Decompression and Fusion aims to allow the bone of the spine to grow back together after removing damaged portions of the disc and replacing parts of the bone with a spacer. This replacement is meant to cause a biological response that will cause the bone to regenerate in the affected area of the spine and restrict unnecessary spinal movement.


What should I do to prepare?  

Patients should speak with their doctor prior to the procedure to establish the best course of action to prepare for their specific procedure. General guidelines for preparation for procedures involving general anesthesia should be followed, including refraining from eating or drinking the night before surgery and avoiding certain medications prior to surgery.


What Happens during the procedure? 

General anesthesia will be administered during the procedure and the patient will be asleep for the duration of the procedure in order to restrict movement. The patient will be placed on his or her stomach lying down and an incision will be made in the lower back region. Part of the bone will be removed from the disc region and will be replaced with a spacer. This spacer may be composed of bone from a bone graft, or a synthetic material such as metal or plastic.


What are the risks and complications?  

As with most spinal surgeries multiple risks and complications can occur. These may include common complications such as bleeding, infection, and anesthetic complications. In more severe and rare cases, complications such as nerve damage, loss of feeling or sensation in the legs and loss of control in the bowels or bladder.


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