Lumbar hardware placement is essential for fusion in the vertebrae of the lumbar spine. Fusion is used to treat a number of different conditions, from degenerative disc disease to fractures, in conjunction with a discectomy and more. The correct type and placement of hardware will depend on the procedure in question, the number of vertebras being fused and the injury or condition being treated. To learn more about lumbar hardware placement, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health by calling Call407-303-5452 for an appointment.
What Does Hardware Do?
While there are quite a few different types of hardware used in different situations requiring spinal fusion, all of them serve the same purposes. Hardware is used to attach adjacent vertebral levels, to provide support during the healing process and to hold the bone graft material in place. In the case of fractures, hardware is used to ensure fragments of bone do not migrate into the spinal canal.
What Types of Hardware Are Used?
Patients will find a range of different hardware in use today for spinal fusion purposes. Wire constructs are very common, though this is an older technology that is seeing some reduction in use. Wire can be combined with other hardware, including hooks and rods, screws and plates depending on the needs of the patient.
Perhaps the most common form of hardware used today is the plate/screw combination. This involves the application of metal plates to bridge adjacent vertebras and screws inserted through the plate into the vertebras to hold the construct in place.
Cage constructs can also be used in spinal fusion techniques. These are usually placed in the disc space between vertebras and are used to hold bone graft material or bone graft alternative (a genetically engineered material).
Hardware is usually placed on two adjacent vertebras (for instance, plates bridge the distance between two vertebra and hold them together against the bone graft material). Wire can be placed around several vertebral layers as well. Screws are placed through wire constructs, cages or plates and then into the vertebras being fused.
What Does Spinal Fusion Do?
In order to understand the importance of hardware placement, understanding fusion is necessary. In the world of spinal surgical treatments, fusion is done to provide stabilization of the spine. This can be done to treat a number of different conditions. In the case of a full discectomy, fusion is necessary to prevent unwanted motion in the spine. In instances of spinal deformity, it is necessary to correct the abnormal curvature (or lack of curvature, in the case of flatback syndrome). Stability reduces movement and motion in the spine, but there are new options available that provide limited movement (called dynamic stabilization) – this prevents some of the more common side effects of spinal fusion.
To discuss your symptoms and conditions, schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Call Call407-303-5452 to request an appointment.