Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a common cause of pain in the lower back and neck. The name of this condition is a bit confusing because it is not actually a disease. Degenerative disc disease refers to wear on the spinal discs over time, which can result in pain.

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Lumbar Fusion

Anterior or posterior approaches create bone bridging from one vertebral level to the adjacent level. It is done with instrumentation (screws/rods) and bone graft. Both approaches can be done via an open technique or minimally invasively. 

Preparation

In preparation for the procedure, the patient is positioned and general anesthesia is administered. The surgeon creates an incision to access the lumbar spine.

Laminectomy

The surgeon removes the lamina, the protrusion at the rear of the vertebra. This is the portion of the vertebra that covers the nerve roots. Removing the lamina creates more space for the nerve roots.

Bone Cleared

Next, the surgeon clears any bone or debris that may be pressing against the nerve roots. This relieves pressure and pain.

Bone Grafts Implanted

The surgeon places bone grafts against the vertebrae. The bone grafts may be harvested from the patient’s own body, typically from the pelvis. They may also be taken from another donor.

Screws/Rods Inserted

The surgeon inserts hardware to hold the vertebrae together. The surgeon may utilize screws and rods or plates.

End of Procedure

When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed and bandaged. The patient may be placed in a back brace to restrict movement of the spine. The patient will be able to leave the hospital after two or three days. As the spine heals, the bone grafts will fuse with the vertebrae to create a solid, stable mass of bone.

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Cervical Decompression and Fusion

This surgery removes a herniated or diseased disc and relieves neck and radiating arm pain caused by parts of the disc pressing on nerve roots.

Incision Created

The surgeon performs this procedure through an incision on the front of the neck.

Disc Removed

First, the surgeon removes the diseased or damaged disc. Removing the disc relieves pressure on pinched nerve roots, alleviating pain.

Spacer Inserted

Next, the space above and below the removed disc is cleared and prepared for a vertebral spacer. A bone graft material is inserted into the spacer, and the implant is placed between the vertebrae.

Metal Plate Attached

The surgeon may then screw a small metal plate over the area to hold the bones in place while the vertebrae heal.

End of Procedure

During the healing process, the vertebral bone above and below the spacer will knit together to form a new bone mass called a fusion.

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Office Hours

  • Monday - Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm
  • Saturday - Sunday: Closed

Contact Us

2888 Long Beach Blvd. Suite 240
Long Beach, CA 90806

Phone: 562.595.7696
Fax: 562.988.1559