Treating Degenerative Disc Disease With Lumbar Fusion
Patients in or near Austin, TX who suffer from degenerative disc disease understand what a painful condition it can be, and are encouraged to seek relief from orthopedic surgeon Dr. Randall Dryer of the Central Texas Spine Institute. While you may be very eager to seek any treatment that has the potential to relieve your back pain, it is important that you first understand all of the available options and have a professional spine expert such as Dr. Dryer determine the best course of action.
Pinched nerves are the source of pain for those who suffer from degenerative disc disease. Vertebral discs act as cushions and spacers between the separate bones, or vertebrae, in your spine. The space provided allows for movement, but it also provides a path for nerve roots to travel from the spine to other areas of the body. As the discs break down, the space between the vertebrae is diminished, and the nerve root can become compressed, creating pain of varying intensity.
The process of lumbar fusion, also known as inter-body fusion or IBF, aims to restore that space. During this procedure, the orthopedic surgeon removes a part of the damaged disc, and places two temporary spacers that realign the spine and take the pressure off of the nerve root. These spacers are carefully replaced with two metal cages that thread into the bone matter of the two vertebrae. The cages are packed with morselized bone graft, which are tiny particles of your own bone matter. The bone graft grows through the holes in the cage, fusing with the bone in both vertebrae to form a bridge made of solid bone.
If you’re interested in learning more about lumbar fusion as a possible treatment for your back pain, contact Central Texas Spine Institute of Austin or request an appointment today. To watch an animated video of the lumbar fusion procedure, click here.