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When should I consider having lumbar spinal fusion?

Hooman M. Melamed, MD
Neurosurgery

In order to even be considered for a lumbar spinal fusion, my patients must absolutely and truly exhaust all conservative therapy for at least a few months to see if their condition improves.  I recommend medication, injections, physical therapy, pilates, yoga, chiropractic treatments and acupuncture.  In order to then be considered for a fusion, they must still be in disabling pain. A fusion tends to work best in patients who have instability, deformity, and bone bruising.

However, someone with progressive nerve damage should have surgery much sooner in order to stop any future damage. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Lumbar spinal fusion for lower back pain is only considered when six months or more of extensive non-surgical treatment, such as physical therapy, medication, and injection therapy fails to relieve pain. Pain must also interfere with daily activities, and other invasive procedures must be unlikely to be beneficial. Watch the video for more information on spinal fusion.



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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.