Fusion surgery for workers comp low back pain is generally a last resort for an injured worker with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. It’s a medical decision, with legal implications.
Posterior Lumbar Fusion: In the past, the traditional operation to perform a fusion of the lumbar spine was to remove the hard outside covering of bone to create a bleeding bone surface. Once this was done, bone graft was taken from the pelvis and laid on top of the scraped vertebrae. The body tries to heal this area just like it would a fractured bone. The bone graft and the bleeding bone grow together and fuse to create one solid bone.
Spinal fusions were not always successful, mainly because the vertebrae failed to fuse together in some cases. To increase the success of fusion, metal plates and screws have been used to treat fractures of other bones. The more rigid two bones can be held together while the healing phase occurs, the more likely the bones are to heal. Spine surgeons began looking for ways to hold the vertebrae together while the fusion took place.
Posterior Lumbar Instrumented Fusion: Low Back Pain advances have been made in recent years in developing metal rods, metal plates, and special screws that are designed to hold the vertebrae together while the fusion takes place. These new techniques of spinal fusion are referred to as instrumented fusions because of the special devices used to secure the vertebrae to be fused. Today the most common type of posterior fusion is performed using special screws called pedicle screws that are inserted into each vertebra and connected to either a metal plate or metal rod along the back of the spine. The vertebrae are still scraped, and bone graft is still used to stimulate the bones to heal together and fuse into one solid bone.
Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Low Back Pain A fusion of the lumbar spine can be accomplished in other ways. In some cases, surgeons feel that it is best to perform a fusion from the front of the spine. This is termed an anterior interbody fusion. This type of fusion requires an incision in the side of the abdomen to allow the surgeon to see the front of the spine. The intervertebral disc is removed between two vertebral bodies and bone graft is inserted where the disc was removed. The two vertebral bodies heal together and fuse.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best workers comp results with permanent work restrictions, regardless of whether there was fusion surgery. For free consultation, call us to find out if we can help with your workers comp low back pain case.