Lumbar Spinal Fusion Specialist
Spinal fusion involves stabilising a segment of the spine to allow bony union to occur across that segment, thereby immobilising that segment of the spine. Typically one or more vertebrae (spine levels) are joined together to allow a bony bridge to form. There are different methods to achieve spinal fusion.
Spinal fusion is not performed routinely in spine surgery but may be needed to treat some conditions where pain, instability or neurological problems may develop if the spine is not stabilised. Indications for lumbar fusion include:
Watch the video below for general information about lumbar spinal fusion.
The bones (vertebrae) of the spine can be fused by a variety different methods, or combination of methods, including:
- Interbody fusion - fusion between two vertebral bodies where the disc usually sits - fusion across the disc space
- Posterior fusion - fusion accross the lamina and facet joints at the back of the spine
- Postero-lateral - fusion across the facet joints and transverse processes
- Inter-spinous fusion - fusion between the spinous processes.
The spinal segment to be fused is generally immobilised by the insertion of a rigid metal construct, such as pedicle screws connected to rods. A bony or rigid scaffold, such as an interbody cage with bone graft material, is placed across the region to be fused between the two vertebrae.
Dr Oehme performs spinal fusion surgery using minimally invasive and keyhole techniques. Patients are typically in hospital for between two and five days. Post opreative pain is generally easily managed with oral medications. Perfoming fusion surgery using minimally invasive and keyhole techniques, as opposed to standard open techniques, benefits patients by:
- minimising muscle injury
- reducing blood loss
- reducing infection risk
- reducing postoperative pain
- shortening the time spent in hospital
- utilising smaller more cosmetically favourable incisions
- reducing damage to adjacent levels
Dr Oehme routinely uses advanced spinal neuro-navigation equipment for accurate pedicle screw and instrumentation placement. He has access to O-arm neuronavigation and other sophisticated neuronavigation technology which minimises the chance of a complication occurring.
It is against Dr Oehme's priniciple of harm minimisation to unneccessarily take iliac crest bone graft from your hip in order to promote fusion. Where possible, Dr Oehme uses synthetic bone substitutes and local bone so that complications of chronic hip pain do not occur.
Dr Oehme will advise you on whether spine fusion is appropriate for your condition. Spinal fusion can be performed by a variety of surgical approaches as outlined below.
Click on the links below for information on the different types of lumbar spinal fusion procedures performed by Dr Oehme. Each type of spinal fusion has advantages for treating specific conditions. The different procedures fuse the spine using different surgical approaches - from the back (PLIF and TLIF), from the side (XLIF) or from the front (ALIF).