Fusion surgery for workers comp low back pain is a reality for some injured workers and McCormick Law Office has years of experience representing these men and women in workers compensation claims. These are serious cases and require expert opinions and proper documentation to be successful. Following lumbar fusion, many workers have doctor assigned permanent work restrictions. If the workers comp related work restrictions preclude a return to work earning at least 85% of pre-injury wage rate, the worker has a claim for loss of earning capacity benefits. This is in addition to the temporary total disability benefit paid while off work and still in the healing period. There may also be permanent partial disability benefits.
Anterior Lumbar Discectomy and Fusion with Cages: Low Back Pain Degeneration of the intervertebral disc allows the vertebrae to move closer together, which narrows the openings (the neural foramina) where the nerve roots leave the spinal canal. Surgeons realized that restoring the normal separation between the vertebrae would open the foramina and take pressure off the nerve roots. Over the last several years, devices called fusion cages have been designed that can be placed between the vertebrae to hold them apart while the fusion occurs. Enlarging the space between two vertebrae widens the opening of the neural foramina, taking pressure off the spinal nerves that pass through them. The extra space also pulls taut the ligaments inside the spinal canal so they don’t buckle.
Fusion cages are made of metal, bone, or graphite material. Some of these cages are shaped like cylinders. They are threaded like a screw on the outside and hollow on the inside. Some are rectangular in shape. The main purpose of the cage, regardless of the shape or material, is to hold the two vertebrae apart while the fusion becomes solid.
Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. Surgeons may combine the two methods of anterior fusion and posterior fusion. Fusing both the anterior and posterior portions of the spine gives the most solid fusion. Placing intervertebral cages between the two vertebrae also allows the surgeon to restore the disc height and help take pressure off of the nerve roots that exit at that spinal segment. A common method of doing this is called a posterior lumbar interbody fusion, combined with a posterior lumbar instrumented fusion (described in an earlier blog post).
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best workers comp results with permanent work restrictions, regardless of whether there was fusion surgery. Our experienced lawyers and paralegals are available to discuss your case before or after fusion surgery. For free consultation, call us to find out if we can help with your workers comp low back pain case.