Understanding Lower Back Surgery with an Implant

In lower back (lumbar) fusion surgery, the goal at the operated level(s) is to have the bones grow together, stopping movement, to help relieve your symptoms.  There are many reasons for lumbar surgery and many types of implants.


Lateral Lumbar Fusion: Timberline® MPF Cage with Modular Plate and Screws

Lumbar Surgery for Disc Degeneration

When a disc breaks down (degenerates), the damaged disc is typically removed and replaced with an implant, made of metal, plastic, or bone.  The implant (cage) put in the disc space helps match the disc height to the healthy levels above and below. Restoring the disc height can help remove pressure on the nerves and/or spinal cord.  The surgeon can access your damaged disc with a front (anterior), a back (posterior), or a side (lateral) incision. 

For extra stability:

  • In posterior cases, your surgeon may insert pedicle screws into the vertebrae above and below the damaged level(s).  A rod is used to connect the screws to prevent movement.  
  • In anterior and lateral cases, your surgeon may place a plate with screws on the face of the bones.

Aspen® MIS Fusion System, a spinous process fixation device with anterior lumber interbody cage

Lumbar Surgery for Disc Degeneration – Minimally Invasive Surgery 

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for lumbar fusion includes both less invasive surgical approaches and implants, when compared to traditional, open lumbar surgery.  MIS has more than a decade of clinical history1 and surgeons are increasingly recommending MIS options for their patients.

A minimally invasive surgery often uses similar implants to a traditional open surgery, like a cage and pedicle screws, but with a less invasive surgical method. MIS offers potential advantages over traditional open lumbar fusion, including:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less trauma to back muscles and soft tissue
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Fewer complications
  • Reduced postoperative pain
  • Quicker recovery time

Not all back problems are potentially helped with MIS.

  1. Data on file Zimmer Spine, Inc.
Results are not necessarily typical, indicative, or representative of all recipient patients.  Results will vary due to health, weight, activity and other variables.  Not all patients are candidates for every product or procedure.  Only a medical professional can determine the treatment appropriate for your specific condition.   Appropriate post-operative activities will vary from patient to patient.  Talk to your surgeon about whether surgery is right for you and the risks of the procedure, including the risks of infection, implant wear, loosening, breakage, or failure.  For additional information or to find a surgeon near you visit www.zimmerbiomet.com
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