Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.
Fusing vertebrae in the lumbar curve may help ease lower back and leg pain. Posterior lumbar fusion is done through an incision in your back. The graft is put between the vertebrae in one of two places: in the disk space or between the transverse processes. Depending on how many vertebrae are fused, the surgery may take from 3 to 8 hours.
Fusing the Transverse Processes
Bone graft is packed between the transverse processes ("wings") on the sides of the vertebrae. Occasionally, other nearby parts of the vertebrae are fused as well.
To help keep your spine steady and promote fusion, extra support (see below) may be used.
The incision is closed with sutures or staples.
Fusing the Disk Space
The disk between the vertebrae is removed.
Bone graft is packed in the now-empty space between the vertebrae. In time, the graft and the bone around it grow into a solid unit.
To help keep your spine steady and promote fusion, extra support may be used.
The incision is then closed with sutures or staples.
If Extra Support Is Needed
Metal supports called instrumentation may be used to help steady your spine while it fuses:
A cage may be used when fusing the disk space.
Screws and rods may be used when fusing the transverse processes. In rare cases, these supports may be removed after fusion is complete.
Contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.201.3624 for your orthopaedic needs. For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation.