When a lumbar fusion is required due to degenerative spinal diseases, pedicle screw fixation is used to internally immobilize the targeted spinal segments and thereby enhance the fusion rate. Rigid fixation is achieved by the placement of longitudinal connectors (rods) that interconnect the pedicle screw heads. Pedicle screw fixation has historically been the gold standard for providing stabilization to the lumbar motion segment while the fusion matures. As an alternative to standard open surgery, percutaneous placement of pedicle screws diminishes injury to adjacent structures while accomplishing the same goal of immobilizing the spinal segments.
If you suffer from Degenerative Disc Disease in the lumbar spine, and have failed at least six months of conservative treatment without adequate results, you may be a candidate for spinal fusion. Your doctor can help you determine if you are a candidate for pedicle screw fixation.
Because the pedicle screw system gives more stability to the fusion site, it allow the patient to be out of bed much sooner. Most patients are able to return home when their medical condition is stabilized, usually within one week after fusion surgery. Limit your activities to avoid doing too much too soon. Avoid bending, lifting, twisting, and driving for at least six weeks. Clinical study results have shown that segmental fixation increases the fusion rate and clinical success of indicated patients undergoing the procedure in lumbar spine operations, as it does in the treatment of fusion of long bone injuries, scoliosis, and other comparable surgeries. It effectively reduces the rate of misaligned fusions, and improves patient satisfaction.