Any pain or discomfort in the back or along the spinal column will certainly affect a patient’s ability to perform daily activities and live a pain-free existence. Sometimes, the vertebrae which make up the spine can become damaged or diseased. The vertebral bone or disc material can pinch and block a nerve root if this happens.
Spinal nerve compression can be very painful, especially when it affects the lower spine (the lumbar spine). If you are experiencing this type of pain, you may be a candidate for a spinal surgery known as lumbar corpectomy and fusion. An experienced orthopedic surgeon must do this surgical procedure with a history of successful recovery for patients following the spinal fusion surgery.
At New York Spine Specialist, our team of spine specialists has vast experience and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this surgical technique and many others related to the same area, including posterior spinal fusion, anterior lumbar corpectomy, posterior spinal surgery, and others.
A lumbar corpectomy and fusion is a special spinal decompression and fusion procedure that utilizes an anterolateral (flank or side of the body incision – through the abdominal region) approach to remove bone and tissue is causing nerve and spinal cord compression.
However, successfully correcting this severe spinal problem generally involves removing nearly the entire vertebral body and disc using the proper techniques. The removed portion of vertebral bone must then be replaced with a bone graft and mended (fused) together to maintain stability. A small metal plate with screws may also add additional stability.
Those who may be candidates for a lumbar corpectomy and fusion surgery must be aware of the steps involved in the process. The more prepared a patient is before the surgery, the better able they will be when it comes to the healing process and recovery.
The steps of a lumbar corpectomy and fusion process include:
Before beginning the lumbar corpectomy and fusion surgical procedure, most patients are given general anesthesia not to feel anything throughout the whole process. Their vital signs and breathing will be closely monitored throughout the procedure to ensure no complications.
Once the patient is fully under, an incision is made on the left side so that the surgeon can gain access to the spinal column. Using the anterolateral technique is the optimum way to access the spine area that needs repair.
Removal of Disc Material
Once the surgeon has access to the affected vertebrae, they will remove the disc material above and below the damaged vertebral bone and any fragments of the damaged bone. The surface of the bone will then be cleared and prepared for the forthcoming bone graft or bone graft substitute.
Bolts in the upper and lower vertebrae are inserted to open the space and correct any spinal cord curvature noted in prior examinations of the patient.
Bone Graft Insertion
Now that the space has been opened and prepared, the bone graft can be inserted into the space. That area is then closed to hold the bone graft in place firmly.
A metal plate, often called a Zplate, is also inserted to bridge the upper and lower vertebrae. The Zplate is kept in its proper location through medical-grade screws and nuts.
Finally, it is time for the surgeon to close the incision with stitches. The area is cleaned thoroughly, and a medical bandage is applied. Through the bone healing process and a good recovery program, the bone graft will become entwined with the upper and lower vertebrae and form a solid bone fragment. This is known as a fusion. Over time, gradual improvement will be seen.
You will likely spend somewhere between 4 and 7 seven days recovering in the hospital following the surgery. During that time, you will meet with physical therapists and occupational therapists to work on techniques for normal activities such as getting out of bed and walking independently.
These physical and occupational therapists show you how to bend properly and prevent any strain injury. Eventually, the pain subsides, and the back muscles gradually regain strength at the treated vertebra. You may need to wear a soft or rigid lumbar corset or additional support post-op.
When a vertebra in a patient’s spine has become damaged or diseased, it can seriously negatively affect the spine’s stability. The instability caused by the damage could prevent an individual from functioning as normal and completing daily activities. The lumbar corpectomy and fusion process can be how stability is returned, and the individual can return to a normal life.
Our Spine expert at New York Spine Specialist will examine your spine and determine if you are a candidate for lumbar corpectomy and fusion surgery. It is most often performed for patients with a spinal fracture, tumor, or infection causing nerve compression on the spinal nerves.
If you are experiencing severe pain in your lower back and unsure of its cause, contact New York Spine Specialist. Our team of specialists is happy to examine you and determine the best course of treatment for your pain. We offer a variety of treatments, from spine procedures to surgery, so that we can find the right solution for you. Call us today to visit one of our spine specialists to see if you’re a candidate for this procedure.MEET OUR TEAM