What happens during lumbar spinal fusion surgery?

Michael A. King, MD
Watch this video with Michael King, MD, from Blake Medical Center to learn the step-by-step process of a lumbar spine surgery. 
Kevin Boyer, MD
Learn what happens during lumbar spinal fusion surgery. Watch this video with Kevin Boyer, MD from Blake Medical Center.
During lumbar spinal fusion surgery, a doctor will introduce a device into the spine that affects movement, says Erik Spayde, MD, from Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center. Learn exactly what it does by watching this video.
Gregory P. Gebauer, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The goal of lumbar spinal fusion surgery is to help bone grafts grow between the vertebrae, says Gregory Gebauer, MD, with Fawcett Memorial Hospital. Watch this video to learn more about the surgery.
Constantine A. Toumbis, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
A lumbar spinal fusion is a surgery designed to stabilize the lumbar spine. Watch this video to learn more about spine surgery from Constantine Toumbis, MD at Citrus Memorial Hospital.
Intermountain Healthcare
Nutrition & Dietetics
Lumbar spinal fusion surgery is a surgery to join two or more spinal bones -- vertebrae -- so that they eventually grow into one solid bone. During surgery:

1. An anesthesiologist will put you to sleep so you will not feel or remember the surgery. You will also be given antibiotics to help prevent infection.
2. You will be placed on your stomach so the surgery can be done from your back, at or near your spine.
3. After making an incision (cut) in your skin and spine, the surgeon will implant fixation devices to hold the vertebrae in the correct position. These devices (called "hardware") include spacers in the disk space between the bones, and a system of metal (titanium) screws and rods on the back of the bones.
4. If spinal nerves are pinched by disk material, overgrown joints, or bone spurs, the surgeon will remove that material to ensure that the nerves have plenty of space.
5. The surgeon will then pack bone chips between and around the abnormal vertebrae so that over time they will fuse (grow together) into one solid piece of bone.
6. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.

Continue Learning about Spinal Fusion

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.