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Step-by-step Look at Spinal Decompression and Fusion Surgery

Step-by-step Look at Spinal Decompression and Fusion Surgery

You’ve been in a constant battle against lower back pain for years now, and you just want to find a solution that allows you to get back to living your best life. That solution may lie in spinal decompression and fusion surgery, which is the gold standard for relieving chronic spine issues like lumbar spinal stenosis, which affects 11% of the older population in the United States.

To give you an idea about how many people turn to this surgery, about 1.5 million spinal fusion procedures are performed each year in the US, which is growing.

If you’re contemplating going this surgical route, we assure you that you’re in extremely good hands here at Texas Spine Consultants. Our spine surgeons, including Dr. Michael Hennessy, Dr. Chester Donnally, Dr. Heidi Lee, Dr. Andrew Park, and Dr. Robert Viere, combine a good deal of experience, training, and skill to provide our patients with top-notch care.

We also believe that patient education is paramount, so with that in mind, we want to outline what we accomplish when we perform spinal decompression and fusion surgery. Let’s take a look.

Freeing up your nerves through spinal decompression

Let’s start with the first part of this surgery — decompression. As we’re sure you’re aware, the reason why you’re dealing with lower back pain, as well as symptoms that run down into your legs, is because nerve roots and fibers in your lumbar spine are being compressed.

This can occur because of degenerative changes in your lumbar spine that lead to conditions like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis. 

However your nerves are irritated and compressed, our first step is to free them up by creating more space. We do this in different ways, depending upon what’s compressing your nerves. Examples of the decompression techniques we perform include:

Before your surgery, we use advanced digital imaging to figure out which of these approaches will work best so you will know ahead of time which decompression direction we’ll be going in.

Fusing your vertebrae

Once we create more space for your nerves and relieve the compression, we move on to the fusion part of the procedure, if necessary. Sometimes, we don’t need to perform this step, but if we remove enough bone or disc, we need to restabilize your lumbar spine.

To do this, we fuse two vertebrae together, creating a longer vertebral segment. We don’t actually fuse the bones together during your surgery — that happens afterward. We set the stage for fusion by creating a living bone bridge between the two vertebrae. And we support this bridge with screws and a rod that hold the segments together.

After your surgery, the bone bridge will grow and fuse your two vertebrae together over the months following your procedure.

Moving forward, your newly decompressed and fused lumbar spine should allow you to move more freely without the pain, numbness, and tingling you’ve been dealing with for years.

We understand that the above is a very broad description, and we want you to know that we will go over the steps of your spinal decompression and fusion surgery in far more detail once we chart your procedure.

If you have more questions about spinal decompression and fusion surgery or want to sit down with one of our spine health experts, please contact one of our offices in Addison or Plano, Texas, to schedule a consultation. 

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