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The goal of lumbar fusion surgery is to relieve pain, numbness, tingling and weakness, restore nerve function and stop or prevent abnormal motion in the spine. This is done by fusing the vertebrae together. The lumbar fusion can be done in the front or the back of the spine.
If the fusion is performed in the front of your spine, Dr Ibrahim will remove the disc (cushion between vertebrae) and any arthritic areas, and place a bone graft between the vertebrae where it eventually fuses to the surrounding vertebrae, to stop abnormal motion. If the fusion is performed in the back of your spine, a bone graft will be placed on the sides of the vertebrae where it will grow together to the vertebrae to stop abnormal motion.
The bone graft may be one of two types: an autograft (bone taken from your own body, usually your pelvis) or an allograft (bone from a bone bank). Sometimes metal rods, screws or hooks are also used with the bone graft to further stabilize the spine. This is referred to as “instrumentation.”
When the vertebrae have been surgically stabilized, abnormal motion is stopped and function is restored to the spinal nerves.