Posterior lumbar fusion is the most common type of fusion surgery for the low back following a work injury. Lumbar fusion can follow a single, traumatic work injury or it can result from job duties over time. A fusion is a surgical procedure that joins two or more bones (in this case vertebrae) together into one solid bone. The procedure is called a posterior fusion because the surgeon works on the back, or posterior, of the spine. Posterior fusion procedures in the lumbar spine are used to treat spine instability, severe degenerative disc disease, and fractures in the lumbar spine.

Other procedures are usually done along with the spinal fusion to take the pressure off nearby nerves. They may include removing bone spurs and injured portions of one or more discs in the low back. Most surgeons also apply metal screws and rods, called instrumentation, to hold the bones securely while they fuse.

The main goal of the spinal fusion (also known as an arthrodesis) is to stop movement of one or more 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. This type of pain often radiates down one or both legs below the knee. Fusion stops this harm to the nerves and slows down degeneration.

Work-related job duties including bending at the waist, lifting from floor to waist, twisting and turning at the waist especially while holding or transferring objects that are heavy or are awkward to handle, all contribute to low back herniated discs resulting in lumbar fusion surgery. The important factors are the exertion level in terms of movement and weight involved, frequency in terms of how often the job duty is performed, and duration in terms of how long the man or woman did the job duty that contributed to the herniated disc or degenerative disc disease from work.

McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin works to get workers comp benefits for injured workers who have lumbar fusion surgery as a result of a work related injury or from job duties over time. Believe in better.