What is a Lumbar Pedicle Screw Fusion?
A lumbar pedicle screw fusion is performed where the spine is unstable and can’t maintain the functional alignment between all its important structures, or abnormal movements cause pain and put adjacent structures at risk of injury.
The fusion joins two vertebrae together to make one large bone. Dr Parkinson roughens up the external surfaces of the two vertebrae, making the body’s natural repair system think one large bone has broken. Bone is then added to maintain and fill the gap. The body then joins the mass together, just like a normal fracture. While the bone is healing, it is held still by screws and plates or rods, taking about three months for the bones to fuse.
Bone chips taken from the hip during the operation may be used to graft onto the vertebra. Alternatively, bone can be harvested from other patients and stored in a bone bank until needed. Using the bone bank saves you the pain of this surgery, doesn’t produce as high fusion rates as using your own bone. Artificial and natural bone substitutes may also be used.
The spinal fusion is performed when the spine is unstable and can’t maintain the functional alignment between all its important structures. The abnormal movements may also cause pain and put adjacent structures at risk of injury.
Causes of spinal instability include:
- Degenerative joint disease
The lumbar pedicle screw fusion replaces the damaged, painful facet joints with solid bone and the laminectomy then gives the compressed spinal cord and nerves more room.