Lumbosacral Fusion Surgery
Lumbosacral Fusion Surgery is a procedure that fuses vertebrae together in the lumbosacral region of the spine as a result of degeneration and diseases that affect that area of the spine such as a herniated or ruptured disc, vertebral compression fractures or degenerative spondylolisthesis. Lumbosacral fusion surgery is often performed in tandem with another surgery that deals with the underlying problem. For example, if a herniated disc in the lumbosacral area of the spine is the problem, the spine surgeon first removes the damaged disc. Then the surgeon inserts bone graft material to replace the herniated disc so that the two vertebrae fuse together. The fusion of the two vertebrae restores stability to the spine.
The Lumbosacral Spine
The lumbosacral area of the spine is the point where the last vertebra of the lumbar spine (lower back) connects to the first vertebra of the sacral spine (below the lumbar and part of the pelvic region).The five lumbar vertebrae experience a great deal of motion and flexibility and also have an important weight-bearing function. The sacral vertebrae consist of five bony segments that are fused together to form a triangle. The lumbosacral joint is very involved in the many movements related to this region of the spine, including walking, running, twisting, jumping, bending and lifting. That's why the lumbosacral spine is highly susceptible to debilitating problems and conditions. The lumbosacral segment, where the lumbar and sacral regions meet, is prone to degeneration and disease.
Diseases Treated with Lumbosacral Fusion Surgery
Lumbosacral spondylosis is the general term for a variety of degenerative spinal abnormalities that run the risk of protruding into the spinal canal and exerting pressure on spinal nerves where the last vertebra of the lumbar spine and the first vertebra of the sacral spine connect. When severe, these conditions can be repaired with lumbosacral fusion surgery:
- Degenerative spondylolisthesis – a condition in which a bone (vertebra) in the lower (lumbar) part of the spine slips out of its proper position onto the bone below it as a result of a degenerative disease such as arthritis.
- Vertebral compression fractures – happens when the vertebrae are compressed together to a smaller height. The leading cause of this type of fracture is osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease that thins and weakens bone tissue as people age. Osteoporosis makes bones brittle and more vulnerable to fractures.
- Bulging or ruptured discs – in the spine, discs act as shock-absorbing cushions between the vertebrae and keep the bones from rubbing against each other. When discs are damaged by injury, disease or normal wear and tear, they may bulge or rupture outside of their normal position and press on nerves. A ruptured or herniated disc can cause extreme pain in the lumbosacral joint.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute'sSpine Services in New York can perform lumbosacral fusion surgery as well as a broad range of spinal surgeries to correct conditions affecting the spine.
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.