Lumbar Spinal Fusion


A Patient and Family Guide to Surgery and Recovery

By June Bacchi in collaboration with St. Joesph's Medical Center, Asheville, NC

Book Summary

This 24 page booklet will tell you about lumbar spinal fusion surgery. It will be helpful to you if your primary care physician has referred you to an orthopaedic or neuro-surgeon to evaluate your lower back pain. It will also help once your surgeon has evaluated your pain and recommended spinal fusion to treat your lower back problem. The purpose of spinal fusion is to relieve your pain by fusing, and thereby immobilizing, the segment of spine that is causing your back problem. Lumbar spinal fusion can be performed through an incision in your back, or an incision in your belly, depending on the cause of your back problem.

Cover design, layout and graphic design by: Media Partners, Inc.

This booklet will answer many questions about your surgery, and hopefully put some of your fears to rest. It explains what will happen before, during, and after spinal fusion surgery. But, it cannot answer all of the questions you might have about your own back problem and the treatment of it. Your surgeon can answer any questions you and your family may still have after reading this booklet.

This 24 page booklet tells you what to expect when having Lumbar Spinal Fusion. This booklet is not intended to replace the advice of your pediatrician or members of your healthcare team.

You probably want to know as much as you can about spinal fusion surgery and recovery. The following are questions you can ask your surgeon. You may have others. Try to get all of your questions answered during your visit so you understand everything clearly before surgery.

Sample inside page with illustrations.

Table of Contents:


* How soon should I have surgery?
* Will I need a blood transfusion?
If so, how many units?
Can I donate my own blood?
* How long will my surgery last?
* How long will I be in the hospital?
* How much pain should I expect right after surgery?
* How will it be controlled? What will the scar look like?
* Will I have metal pins, screws or plates with the fusion?
* If so, will I set off security systems in airports and office buildings? What are the possible complications of surgery and recovery?
* How likely are they to happen to me? How long will my recovery take?
* Will I need a brace? If so, what type?
* When should I be fitted? What activities will I be able to do or not do during recovery?
* When can I resume sexual activity?
* When can I return to work?
* What are the long term limitations of spinal fusion?

General answers to most of these questions are in this booklet. If you think of other questions after your visit, write all of them down, then call your surgeon.

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