Workers comp low back pain surgery may be a lumbar fusion. Do I need low back fusion surgery?  It’s a question workers compensation employees, whether an iron worker, boilermaker, construction laborer or factory machinist with work-related low back pain often ask.  A lumbar fusion may be recommended following a single lifting accident at work, or from physical job duties over time.  Work-related lumbar fusion surgery is a last resort of treatment in most cases. Some examples of workers compensation lumber fusion surgery.

Posterior Lumbar Fusion

The traditional operation of lumbar fusion was to scratch the hard outside covering a vertebrae to create a bleeding bone surface, onto this a bone graft from the pelvis is laid on top of the scratched vertebrae. The bone graft and the bleeding bone grow together and fuse to create one solid bone.  The vertebrae failed to fuse up to 20 percent of cases so surgeons began using metal plates and screws assist the healing fusion.

Posterior Lumbar Instrumented Fusion

The most common type of Posterior Fusion performed is pedicle screw fusion, screws inserted into each vertebra and connected to either a metal plate or metal rod along the back of the spine. The vertebrae are still decorticated, and bone graft is still used to stimulate the bones to heal together and fuse into one solid bone.

Anterior Lumbar 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.

Anterior Lumbar Discectomy and Fusion with Cages

To restore the normal separation between the vertebrae to open the foramina and take pressure off the nerve roots, cages are placed between the vertebrae to hold them apart while the fusion occurs.

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion:

Finally, 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.

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin believe an injured employee should make his or her decision about fusion surgery for workers comp low back pain solely on medical factors.  An attorney should never get involved in medical decision making with a client.  Attorneys should explain potential legal consequences to different scenarios but that is it.  The injured employee and the doctors need to do what is best medically.