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Posterior Lumbar Fusion Indications in Portland, Oregon

What is a Posterior Lumbar Fusion?

A lumbar fusion is when two or more vertebrae in the low back are fused together to create a solid bridge of bone between the vertebrae and across the disc space. A fusion is usually performed to eliminate movement between vertebrae and stabilize a painful or unstable segment of the spine. A posterior lumbar fusion approaches the spine through the back to accomplish the fusion.

What Are the Indications for a Posterior Lumbar Fusion?

Posterior lumbar fusion has high success rates in patients with spondylolisthesis or scoliosis. Sometimes patients with spinal stenosis also benefit from a fusion if a disc is collapsed and the neural foramen, or exiting space for the nerve, needs to be spread open. Posterior fusion for dark, or worn out, discs is less reliable than when other conditions such as those listed above are also present.

What Are the Details of a Posterior Lumbar Fusion?

After general anesthesia, an incision is made over your lower back and your muscles are gently pulled away from your spine to expose the lumbar vertebrae. If your nerves are under any pressure they are decompressed. Dr. Button takes small pieces of bone from the outside part of the back of your pelvis and these pieces are used to stimulate the fusion. The bone on the lower part of your spine is then roughened up and the graft is then placed closely against the roughened up bony surfaces to help produce fusion. Many times Dr. Button also performs an interbody fusion in which the disc is removed and replaced with either solid bone from a cadaver or a carbon fiber cage packed with your own bone. This increases the chances of successful fusion.

Why Are Screws, Plates, or Rods Used in my Spine?

Screws, plates, and rods (also known as hardware) are used to immobilize the spine which enhances the healing process. Hardware acts as an internal splint, or, like a rebar in concrete and increases the chances of fusion. Hardware also allows for correction of deformity in the spine.

Dr. Button is experienced in posterior lumbar fusion and if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss this or other procedures further, click here.

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