Workers compensation posterior lumbar fusion is the most common type of fusion surgery for the low back. A fusion is a surgical procedure that joins two vertebrae together into one solid bone. It’s called a posterior fusion because the surgeon works on the back side of the spine.
Posterior fusion procedures in the lumbar spine are used to treat spine instability or severe degenerative disc disease, which can result from a single work injury or from job duties over time.
Other procedures done along with the spinal fusion to take the pressure off nearby nerves may include removing bone spurs and injured portions of discs in the low back. Surgeons may apply metal screws and rods, called instrumentation, to hold the fused bones securely.
The main goal of the spinal lumbar fusion or arthrodesis is to stop movement of the vertebrae. Keeping the fused section from moving helps stop mechanical pain. Mechanical pain occurs when damaged discs and joints that connect the vertebrae become inflamed from excessive motion between the vertebrae. This type of pain is commonly felt in the low back and may radiate into the buttocks and upper thighs.
The spinal nerves are also affected by too much vertebral motion. They begin to rub where they pass through the neural foramina and become swollen and irritated. Also, the neural foramina narrow when a vertebra slides too far forward or backward over the vertebra below. This immediately pinches the nerves where they pass through the neural foramina. Nerve swelling, irritation, and pinching produce neurogenic pain often down one or both legs below the knee. Fusion helps stop neurogenic pain.
By fusing the vertebrae together, surgeons hope to slow down the process of degeneration at the fused segments and prevent future problems. Rehabilitation after posterior lumbar fusion can be a slow process. After a minimum of six weeks post surgery to allow for healing, outpatient physical therapy last for two to six months. Expect recovery to take up to eight to 12 months. Some patients are not able to go back to a previous physical job. Your therapist may suggest changes in job tasks that enable you to go back to your previous job or to do alternate forms of work. You’ll learn to do these tasks in new ways that keep your back safe and free of strain.
Most of the injured workers we see at [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have had surgery due to a work-related or on the job injury. Our attorneys fight hard for workers compensation fusion benefits for injured workers. There are temporary total disability, medical bills, permanent partial disability and other workers comp benefits available to workers undergoing a work-related fusion surgery.