Home Bones, Joints and MusclesSpinal Injuries and Diseases Lumbar arthrodesis: treatment, recovery and complications

Lumbar arthrodesis: treatment, recovery and complications

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Thanks to advances in medicine, a wide variety of treatments and surgical interventions have been developed against the most serious conditions, but that does not mean that they are an easy choice to implement, since some carry serious risks and delicacy in their application.

In this FastlyHealarticle we explain one of those advanced but complex interventions, lumbar arthrodesis , as well as its treatment, recovery and complications that could arise if it is not carried out correctly, taking the necessary precautions.

What is lumbar arthrodesis

Lumbar arthrodesis is a surgical intervention in which two vertebrae of the spine are fused at the lumbar level in order to adjust their position, regulate their movement and range of displacement. Such arthrodesis is indicated primarily for the following conditions:

  • Lumbar stenosis
  • Degeneration of the intervertebral disc (s)
  • Fractures
  • Tumors
  • Spondylolisthesis (weakness caused by chronic wear, rotation, and / or misalignment of the vertebrae)

Arthrodesis is performed through insertion of either a bone graft (called non-instrumented arthrodesis) or some osteosynthesis material, such as pins and plates (instrumented arthrodesis) that fix the joint in a specific alignment. The bone material for the graft is usually obtained from the pelvic bone.

This surgical intervention carries many risks (especially instrumented arthrodesis), which is why it is considered a last resort, after the patient has undergone all the usual treatments (such as exercises, medications and physiotherapy sessions) and their situation has not been resolved. improved or even worse.

This is due not only to the risk of causing injuries during the operation, but this process is not always effective for the illnesses for which it is applied, because in some cases, the disunity of osteoarthritis occurs or chronic pain persists , to an equal or lesser degree. In addition to the costs that may apply and the post-operative period of disqualification. Its approval requires not only the long-term existence of the injury, but also a multidisciplinary vision of the case, the safe hands of a surgeon and access to the most appropriate technologies to carry it out.

Treatment and recovery of lumbar arthrodesis: first 15 days

During the days following the operation, the patient must remain almost completely at rest , taking as a priority not to make any effort or reckless movements with the lower back.

For these first days, it is recommended that the patient be accompanied on gentle walks for which, in case of getting up, they should be assisted when getting out of bed to avoid the aforementioned effort. In addition, a visit by a physical therapist to the patient is commonly suggested to do exercises and avoid circulation problems and muscle atrophies. Avoid using very rigid mattresses.

Treatment and rehabilitation of lumbar arthrodesis: third and fourth weeks

The walks should continue to promote continuous circulation, with a frequency and duration suggested by the physiotherapist or specialist, always under the observation of a family member or trained caregiver. In the same way, you can begin to perform stretching and rotation exercises indicated by the specialist.

The person can sit, but making sure to maintain the correct and upright posture, without mobilization of the lumbar region that could risk arthrodesis. As with mattresses, the seats should not be too hard, but neither should the patient “sink” into them, as it would require an effort to get up. If you are using a chair with a hard base, you can place a cushion and it is best not to sit for more than 25 minutes.

The incision area must be supervised (where the body was “entered” to perform the intervention) and verify that there are no redness, lumps, opening of the same or any sign that indicates the appearance of any complication.

At this point in the post-operation, you could drive only if it is expressly allowed by the surgeon and under the conditions and limits that he or she has. After the first 4 weeks, the patient will be able to gradually return to their common activities, although without impact exercise and limiting some movements and postures, either for life or for longer periods of time, depending on what the professional indicates. each particular case.

Lumbar arthrodesis: complications and sequelae

As we have already mentioned, the most serious immediate complication is the disunity of the fusion performed and the negative point that the chronic pain that motivated the intervention does not disappear, in addition to the frequent risks of any operation such as excess bleeding, damage to nerves, clots , infections or infiltrations.

Other possible complications of lumbar arthrodesis that can arise immediately or in the long term and that motivate to carry out a correct recovery process are the following:

  • Persistence of pains prior to the operation or the emergence of new ailments, for example in the legs.
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Reflex alteration.
  • Alteration of bladder and bowel functions, sphincter control.
  • Postural and walking instability.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Lumbar arthrodesis: treatment, recovery and complications , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints and muscles .

You may also like

Leave a Comment