Lumbar Discectomy & Fusion Surgeon in New York
What is lumbar discectomy fusion?
Your lumbar spine refers to the lower portion of your spine. Between each of your spine bones (vertebra) is a small, flexible cushion known as a disc. When one of your discs is damaged or wears out over time due to degenerative disc disease (DDD), you may experience lower back pain. This is because the disc is no longer keeping the bones from rubbing against one another when you move. Lumbar discectomy and fusion is an advanced procedure performed at Specialty Orthopaedics that removes the damaged disc and fuses your spinal bones together to prevent friction and pain.
Why is lumbar discectomy fusion used?
When conservative treatments do not alleviate your pain, lumbar discectomy and fusion may be recommended. The procedure can often resolve any of the following conditions that cause lower back pain:
- Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
- Herniated discs
- Lumbar stenosis/spinal stenosis
- Back fractures
What does lumbar discectomy fusion involve?
Before undergoing spinal surgery, it’s important to us that you have a clear understanding of the entire procedure and what you can expect on the day of surgery. We will spend time discussing the details of your surgery with you and answer any questions or concerns that you may have. In general, you can expect the following on the day of your lumbar fusion surgery:
- Your surgeon makes an incision to access your lumbar spine.
- Any muscles and surrounding tissues are gently moved to the side to give your surgeon a full view of your lumbar spine.
- The damaged disc is removed.
- The two vertebrae surrounding the damaged disc are fused together to prevent them from rubbing, which is causing your lower back pain.
- Your muscle and tissues are gently put back in place and your incision is carefully closed.
Following any surgery with Specialty Orthopaedics, you’ll visit with us for a follow-up discussion to go over your recovery plan and specific steps you should take to ensure a full, safe recovery.
What are the benefits of having lumbar discectomy fusion surgery?
The benefits of undergoing lumbar discectomy and fusion surgery with one of our skilled New York orthopedic surgeons include the following:
- Chronic lower back pain relief
- Restored range of motion in the lower back
- Experienced and caring neck surgeons
- Evidence-based orthopedic techniques
- Performed at some of the best orthopedic hospitals in the country
When can I expect to resume normal activities after lumbar discectomy fusion?
Your recovery from lumbar discectomy and fusion will occur in stages. Your activity restrictions may vary based on where you’re at in your recovery process. Generally, we expect some of the following milestones:
- Sexual activity. You may resume sexual activity as you feel well enough. You may need to adjust positions to maintain comfort. It’s recommended that you take your time and use an abundance of caution to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
- Driving. Chances are, you’ll be taking narcotic pain medication for at least a few weeks after your spinal procedure. You cannot drive until you’ve completely transitioned to a non-narcotic pain reliever. This is because narcotics can slow your reflexes and increase the risk of accidents. When you resume driving, start with shorter trips of no more than 30 minutes at a time. As you increase your driving time after your discectomy and fusion, you may need to take breaks to get out and walk or stretch.
- Work. We’ll discuss your total recovery time well before your surgery. You may be advised to request eight to 12 weeks off work to allow complete healing to occur before you sit or stand for long periods. That said, you may be able to return to work before that time if your recovery progresses perfectly.
- Exercise. You can walk starting right away after your lumbar discectomy and fusion. Initially, this will be more like five to 10 minutes of walking around the house. You can expect to gradually increase to about 30 minutes, twice a day, but take it slow and recognize your body’s need for rest during your recovery period. You may be more tired than usual and may fatigue more quickly from physical exertion. You cannot bend or twist, pull, push, or lift objects that weigh more than five pounds. This means you won’t be able to do most exercises that you may have done before surgery until you’ve been given full clearance from the surgeon.
How will I sleep after my spinal fusion procedure?
You may sleep on your back or side after having your spinal procedure. If you sleep on your back, you’ll be most comfortable with a pillow under your knees. If you sleep on your side, you’ll be most comfortable if you place a pillow between your legs. It will be important to maintain your legs on top of each other with your knees bent if you sleep on your side. You may also sleep with the top leg positioned slightly forward provided that this does not cause you to twist at the low back. You may need to use multiple pillows around your body to help you stay in the appropriate position or positions and to keep you from turning onto your stomach., if that is your usual sleeping position.
How successful is lumbar discectomy fusion surgery?
The success of spinal surgery can vary based on numerous factors, including your age, overall health, weight, and lifestyle. In one study of younger, more active patients who’d undergone single-level lumbar discectomy, researchers concluded that this procedure had an 84 percent success rate. Overall, 85 percent of patients were very happy with their surgical outcomes, and 80 percent noted a significant improvement in comfort.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in lumbar discectomy fusion surgery, visit Specialty Orthopaedics. Our New York orthopedic practice is home to a team of fellowship-trained orthopedists in a variety of specialty areas. We offer comprehensive treatment for musculoskeletal disorders in a caring and responsive clinical atmosphere. Give us a call at 914.686.0111 or fill out the form on this page to schedule your appointment today.