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Lumbar Interbody Fusion (IBF)

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Lumbar Interbody Fusion Quick Facts

How It Works:

  • The muscles in your back are moved (never cut) to gain access to the degenerated disc
  • The disc is removed and the space replaced temporarily with high-tech spacers that help align your spine and keep the vertebra in position
  • Spacers help relieve any pressure on the nerves to reduce pain
  • The temporary spacers are replaced by small cages that contain bone graft
  • Cages are screwed into place, and in some cases, rods are inserted to further stabilize the area

Typical Conditions:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Less-invasive than a traditional spine fusion.”

Recovery Time*

6-8 weeks

* All recovery periods vary depending on the person or severity of the condition.

Is Lumbar Interbody Fusion Right for Me?

Degenerative disc disease can cause a number of different complications for patients. When we age, our spine ages, and this can involve the wearing down of the discs in between our vertebrae. The discs thin out and become less flexible; sometimes there is weakening of the outer layer of the discs, which can lead to disc “leakage” and herniated discs.

This can make movement of your spine painful. People who are obese, people who smoke, and people who perform strenuous activity (with heavy, repetitive lifting) are more prone to degenerative disc disease.

When patients experience significant pain and do not see improvement with more conservative treatments, lumbar interbody fusion surgery might be considered.

There are many approaches to lumbar spinal fusion surgery, which involves adding bone graft to an area of the spine. This provokes a biological response, causing the bone graft to grow between the two vertebral elements and fuse together, stabilizing the segment and relieving pain.

Am I a Candidate for Lumbar Interbody Fusion?

If your symptoms and conditions require more than a conservative approach to treatment, your doctor may recommend lumbar interbody fusion.

Most spinal fusion procedures like IBF will require two to three days in a hospital bed to ensure proper healing.

Strenuous physical activity like heavy lifting is restricted for several weeks after the surgery. Physical therapy is recommended to help the patient recover strength and flexibility. It is usually several months before the bone grafts completely fuse with the rest of the spine.

Most insurance companies will offer coverage for an IBF procedure, if it’s considered medically necessary and cannot be treated with more conservative approaches (such as medication and physical therapy). You’ll need to contact your insurance company to determine the level of coverage provided.
If you have questions about this procedure or would like to consult with Q Spine Institute about possible treatment plans for your spinal condition, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment! We look forward to helping you.

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