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Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion

What is Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion?

Back pain can be caused by many different problems with your lumbar spine. These may include:

  • Degenerated discs
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Pars fracture or defect
  • Herniated discs
  • Facet joint arthritis

Sometimes these problems cause one or more levels of your spine to become unstable. The abnormal motion between your vertebrae can produce back pain and can lead to nerve compression that may cause sciatica. A minimally invasive lumbar fusion in NYC treats these conditions by decompressing nerves and stabilizing abnormal or painful motion.

There are a variety of techniques employed to perform minimally invasive lumbar fusions. The most tested and effective of these are the minimally invasive transformational lumbar interbody fusion also known as the MIS-TLIF and the transpsoas lateral interbody fusion also known as XLIF or DLIF.

These procedures are routinely performed by our neurosurgeons in a New Jersey hospital. Small incisions are made in your low back, and specialized instruments are introduced to areas in and around your spine. The instruments are used to cut away disc, ligament and bone to take pressure off of your spinal nerves.

Once your nerves are decompressed, material that promotes bone growth is placed between the vertebrae that are going to be fused. There are a variety of materials that can be used including your own bone, cadaver bone and other products made by medical companies. The decision on which materials to use should be made on the basis of your specific case and a discussion between you and your doctor. Instrumentation is placed to stabilize the bones as well. This typically consists of screws and rods and often wedges of synthetic material typically referred to as “cages.”  This instrumentation helps bone growth and provides support that enables you to be active until bone growth is complete.

Benefits of performing a minimally invasive lumbar fusion in NJ compared to a standard open procedure include:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less pain
  • Less risk of infection
  • Faster recovery time

During a minimally invasive lumbar fusion, your low back muscles are not disconnected from the bone. Instead they are gently spread apart or dilated and the surgery is performed through a tube.  This produces less muscle damage and scarring, making your recovery less painful and faster than an open lumbar fusion surgery.

Recovery after Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion

Every patient heals differently from lumbar surgery in NJ. Most patients go home within 48 hours after minimally invasive lumbar fusion and then gradually get back to normal activities. Your doctor may have you start a walking program to help you regain your mobility and overall endurance.

After a few weeks of healing, you should be feeling well enough to return to most everyday activities. Your doctor may allow you to return to work if your job does not require heavy manual labor or lifting. After 6 weeks, most people can begin low impact exercise beginning with a course of physical therapy. You may have to avoid high intensity athletics or very physical work until adequate healing of the fusion has taken place. This can potentially require several months.

Risks of Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion

Every surgical procedure carries with it some risks, and minimally invasive lumbar fusion is no different. Typical risks of the procedure include:

  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Nerve irritation or injury
  • Instrumentation problem
  • Failure of bones to heal over time, also known as a “non-union” or “pseudoarthrosis”

The risks from minimally invasive lumbar fusion in NYC are no different when compared to an open spinal surgery. Your doctor will discuss with you the risks and associated benefits of the procedure to ensure that you understand the surgery and how it can help your low back pain or sciatica.

Is Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion Right for Me?

It is natural to be anxious and concerned about any lumbar surgery in NJ, and many patients are concerned about facing lost time at work or with family. Most healthy and active people who undergo minimally lumbar fusion surgery enjoy a rapid recovery.

The best way to understand if minimally invasive lumbar surgery in NJ is right for you is to meet with a neurosurgeon in one of our NJ offices to discuss the procedure. He or she can answer your questions and make sure that minimally invasive lumbar fusion is right for you.