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Options for Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Dr. Michael Thomas cares for patients as a neurosurgeon at the Advanced Orthopedic Institute, where he draws on expertise in many different types of spinal surgery. Experienced in the various forms of interbody fusion, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Thomas has presented before the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AANS/CNS) Section for Spine and Peripheral Nerve on spacer options for such procedures.

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Options for Lumbar Interbody Fusion

  1. 1. Dr. Michael Thomas, Neurosurgeon
  2. 2.  Dr. Michael Thomas cares for patients as a neurosurgeon at the Advanced Orthopedic Institute, where he draws on expertise in many different types of spinal surgery. Experienced in the various forms of interbody fusion, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Thomas has presented before the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AANS/CNS) Section for Spine and Peripheral Nerve on spacer options for such procedures. The lumbar interbody fusion procedure allows a surgeon to access the spine and remove a disc that is contributing to a patient's pain. The surgeon then replaces the disc with a bone graft or a metal cage that stabilizes the spine. Depending on the patient's needs, a surgeon performing this procedure may choose an anterior approach. This allows for easy retraction of the rectus abdominus and the peritoneum, which creates access to the spine without the need to manipulate the muscles and nerves of the back. It also allows for the introduction of a larger implant and adds an element of compression to the graft, which in turn supports greater initial stability.
  3. 3.  Patients with high degrees of spinal instability or prior fusion failures may require additional support, and thus may need a dual approach. The anterior/posterior lumbar fusion surgery allows for this support and can support more aggressive treatment, which may be necessary for patients with deformity. By removing the disc from the front and introducing implants from both front and back, the surgeon creates a stable replacement. If a surgeon wishes to avoid the dual incision approach but believes an anterior approach to be contraindicated, he or she may choose a pure posterior lumbar interbody fusion. This uses only a single incision but does not support as complete a clearing of the disc space, though it does enable more anterior work than other comparable approaches.

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