Injured workers considering lumbar fusion for a workers comp back injury should get their medical advice only from their health care providers. General information on procedures is available on the internet from legitimate sources, but again is only general and not specific to your situation. Here is how eorthopod.com describes one version of the procedure.
The decision to proceed with surgery must be made jointly by an informed patient and the surgeon. Once decided on surgery, the surgeon may suggest a complete physical examination by one’s regular doctor to ensure the surgery is appropriate for the patient.
On the day of the surgery, the patient will probably be admitted to the hospital early in the morning, after abiding by dietary restrictions the day before.
Patients are given a general anesthesia to put them to sleep during most spine surgeries. During surgery the patient usually kneels face down on a special operating table which relieves abdomen pressure and lessens blood loss.
An incision is made down the middle of the low back. Then the small muscles along the sides of the low back are lifted off the vertebrae, exposing the back of the spinal column. An X-ray will make sure of the correct vertebrae.
The surgeon first removes any pressure from nearby nerves. This may involve removing part of the lamina bone, the back portion of the vertebra (laminectomy). Then the surgeon takes out any disc fragments and scrapes off nearby bone spurs further relieving nerve pressure. The nerve roots are checked to see if they move freely in the spinal canal and as they leave the spine through the small holes between the vertebrae, the neural foramina. If not, the surgeon may cut a larger opening in the neural foramina (foraminotomy).
The surgeon shaves a layer of bone off the back surfaces of the spinal column. The surgeon makes a second incision at the hip. Small strips of bone are removed from the top rim of the pelvis for a graft and laid over the back of the spinal column. When the bone graft contacts the bleeding area, the body heals (or fuses) the bones.
During posterior spinal fusion, the surgeon may fix the bones in place using a combination of metal screws, rods, and plates. This instrumentation (or hardware, as it is sometimes called) holds the vertebrae to be fused together and prevents them from moving.
A drainage tube may be placed in the wound. The muscles and soft tissues are put back in place, and the skin is stitched together.
For 35 years McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has obtained workers compensation benefits for injured workers having low back lumbar fusion surgery.