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Lumbar spinal surgery - series

Lumbar spinal surgery - Series

Normal anatomy

The spine is made of bones (vertebrae) separated by soft cushions (intervertebral disks).


Indications

Indications

Lumbar (lower back) spine disease is usually caused by herniated intervertebral disks, abnormal growth of bony processes on the vertebral bodies (osteophytes), which compress spinal nerves, trauma, and narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal column around the spinal cord.

Symptoms of lumbar spine problems include:


Incision

Incision

The surgery is done while the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). An incision is made over the lower back, in the midline.


Procedure

Procedure

The bone that curves around and covers the spinal cord (lamina) is removed (laminectomy) and the tissue that is causing pressure on the nerve or spinal cord is removed. The hole through which the nerve passes can be enlarged to prevent further pressure on the nerve. Sometimes, a piece of bone (bone graft), interbody cages, or pedicle screws may be used to strengthen the area of surgery.


Aftercare

Aftercare

Patients usually require physical therapy to optimize spinal mobility after lumbar spine surgery. Results are variable depending on the disease treated.


Related Information

Herniated disk
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Review Date: 7/25/2020  

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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