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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.

Spinal Fusion: Anterior LumbarFusi³n espinal: Lumbar anterior

Spinal Fusion: Anterior Lumbar

Fusing vertebrae in the lumbar curve may help ease lower back and leg pain. Anterior lumbar fusion is done through an incision in your stomach area. Depending on how many vertebrae are fused, the surgery may take from 3 to 8 hours.

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Lumbar vertebrae

The Fusion Procedure

  • The disk is removed from between the vertebrae to be fused.

  • Bone graft is packed into the now-empty space between the vertebrae. In time, the graft and the bone around it grow into one solid unit.

  • To help keep your spine steady and promote fusion, extra support (see below) may be used.

  • The incision is closed with sutures or staples.

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The disk  between the vertebrae is removed.

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Bone graft  is packed into the now-empty space between the vertebrae.

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Over several months,  the bone graft and vertebrae fuse into a solid unit.

If Extra Support Is Needed

Metal supports called instrumentation may be used to help steady your spine while it fuses. These supports are not removed. Your surgeon may use one or more types of support. The most common type of support used with anterior lumbar fusion is a cage.

Publication Source: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC), Rockville, MD

Online Source: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC), Rockville, MD

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2002-07-09T00:00:00-06:00

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