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All About Lateral Interbody Fusion

All About Lateral Interbody Fusion

If the thought of having spinal surgery is unsettling, we understand. Your spine is a delicate and complex area that requires a surgeon with skill and experience. 

That’s why so many patients trust Dr. Patrick McNulty at McNulty Spine in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. He’s a double board-certified, award-winning orthopedic surgeon who served active duty in the U.S. Navy Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. McNulty has been diagnosing and treating complicated spinal conditions for over three decades, rendering him a leader in his field. 

If you have back pain, consult with Dr. McNulty. He offers effective treatments that range from conservative to complex open surgery. When possible, he performs minimally invasive techniques, such as lateral interbody fusion. 

The spinal fusion concept

Spinal fusion is a tried-and-true surgical technique that alleviates symptoms stemming from vertebral movement. If your pain results from two vertebrae shifting and rubbing against nearby nerves and creating inflammation, fusing the bones together stops the movement and, therefore, the pain.

How lateral interbody fusion is different

Lateral interbody fusion is spinal fusion with a twist. Traditionally, the surgery is performed through incisions in your back or the front of your body, but lateral interbody fusion goes through your side. 

Dr. McNulty makes a small incision in your flank, the area above your hip and below your ribs, to access the problematic vertebrae. Although he has to insert his instruments through your psoas muscle — the one that enables your hip to rotate and flex — this is a more direct approach that causes less damage than a posterior or anterior entry. 

The lateral interbody fusion technique

The goal of any spinal fusion procedure is to stabilize your vertebrae and stop painful movements. Dr. McNulty accomplishes that by removing the disc between your two vertebrae and inserting a spacer of bone graft or a small cage filled with bone-grafting material to induce bonding and fusion. Dr. McNulty may reinforce this bridge with plates and screws. 

Over time, your body heals and grows around the graft, permanently fusing your two vertebrae together. 

Conditions that lateral interbody fusion addresses

You might be a good candidate for lateral interbody fusion if you have any of the following conditions:

After a complete examination, Dr. McNulty lets you know if lateral interbody fusion can address your condition or if another minimally invasive procedure, such as decompression, may be better suited.

Advantages of lateral interbody fusion

If you’re a good candidate for lateral interbody fusion, you can look forward to several benefits, including:

Lateral interbody fusion delivers excellent results. Not only is the procedure highly successful, but most patients also report they are very satisfied with the results and would undergo the procedure again. 

Call us today or request an appointment with Dr. McNulty by using our online scheduling tool and find out if you’re a good candidate for lateral interbody fusion. 

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