There are several ways to do spinal fusions using
In general, minimally invasive procedures (or Band-Aid surgeries) use
advanced surgical techniques such as endoscopy, minimal incisions, and
fluoroscopic guidance. The newest, cutting edge implants, also allow
surgeons to accomplish more while doing less surgery.
Lumbar fusions once required up to six hours of surgery, incisions
eight or more inches long, and recoveries of four to six months. After
surgery, many patients became permanently disabled. Nerve root scarring,
common after traditional open fusion surgery, often caused chronic pain.
The newest of the fusion techniques can be used with either anterior
(from the front) or posterior (from the back) fusion techniques. Posterior
surgery can be completed using the “Pathfinder” hardware system.
Introduced just a year ago, the hardware is inserted through two tiny
incisions in the back. Dissection around the nerve roots is not needed.
Anterior fusion surgery can be done with an endoscope and four small cuts,
or with a single tiny incision using special “retractors.” Either Danek
“LT cages” or a “Pyramid plate” can be used to secure the vertebra.
The minimally invasive techniques also require much less time under
anesthesia. Anterior or posterior operations can both be done in about an
hour for a single level. Two level operations take about thirty minutes
more. These operations are not for everyone, ask your spine surgeon.