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Lumbar spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that’s performed to address issues with the vertebrae in the lower back. It involves fusing together the affected bones together to prevent painful motion and alleviate chronic symptoms that have not responded to conservative treatments.

Dr. Joshua Rovner is one of the top spine fusion surgeons in New Jersey. As such, he sees many patients that are dealing with a condition that requires a more aggressive treatment option like lumbar spinal fusion.

Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics
Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics
Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics

A global leader in robotic spine surgery

Dr. Joshua Rovner

As one of the best spine surgeons in NJ, Dr. Joshua S. Rovner provides surgical treatment of pain related to the neck and entire back. Dr. Rovner is one of the few providers of spine surgery in New Jersey that specializes in both minimally invasive spine surgery and robotic spinal surgery. These procedures are safer and more precise alternatives to traditional surgery and are shaping the future of spinal and orthopaedic medicine. By helping individuals leverage more progressive means of minimally-invasive spine surgery, Dr. Rovner helps his patients undergo a smoother surgery with faster recovery times.

A patient-centered and personalized approach enables Dr. Rovner and his New Jersey spine surgery team to diagnose and treat problems related to deformity, trauma, and degenerative conditions. From traditional procedures like lumbar spinal fusion, sports medicine and disc replacement surgery to more advanced and minimally-invasive techniques like robotic spine surgery, Dr. Rovner is one of the most comprehensive and experienced providers of spine surgery available.

Dr. Rovner Named a Top Doctor by Castle Connolly

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When is spinal fusion recommended?

There are many reasons New Jersey spine surgeon Dr. Rovner may recommend lumbar spinal fusion. When performed correctly and by an experienced doctor, the procedure has the ability to resolve a wide range of conditions, including:

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease refers to normal, age-related changes to the spinal discs. As the condition progresses, it can cause severe, disabling pain, numbness and tingling in the lower back. When conservative treatments fail to improve the symptoms, spinal fusion surgery can offer a more permanent solution.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the age-related narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord and adjacent nerves, causing lower back pain, muscle weakness, and in advanced cases, impaired bladder or bowel control. It’s a fairly common condition that happens as people age. If your symptoms worsen and limit your ability to move and work, lumbar spinal fusion may be necessary.


If you have a vertebral fracture, surgery may be necessary to fuse and repair the injury, eliminate pain and restore your full range of motion. If the fracture is also associated with spinal cord or nerve injury, your likelihood of requiring surgery will increase.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion is a spine surgery procedure that is used to treat a herniated disc in the neck when all non-surgical methods of treatment fail. During anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, all or part of the herniated disc in your neck is removed. It is removed from the front of your neck to decrease risk to the spinal cord and nerves. After removal of the disc, the space is stabilized by inserting a bone graft in between the vertebrae where the disc used to be.

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The Procedure

To begin the procedure of spinal fusion, Dr. Rovner will create an incision in the area and move the muscle covering the bone to gain access to the affected vertebrae. From there, he will customize his approach depending on your condition. For example, he may perform a lumbar laminectomy, which involves removing excess bone to provide adequate room for the spinal nerves. He may also perform a lumbar discectomy, removing a small portion of the vertebral bone so he can access and remove the damaged spinal disc. He will then replace the damaged disc with bone grafts, before using titanium screws and rods to fuse the adjacent vertebrae together and stabilize the area.


As Dr. Joshua Rovner is one of the best providers of spinal fusion New Jersey has to offer, in most cases, patients are able to return home a few days after their spinal fusion procedure. During the initial recovery period, it’s normal to experience pain in the area. Dr. Rovner will prescribe short-term medication to offer relief from this discomfort. In general, it takes several months for the vertebrae and bone grafts to fuse together completely.

However, you should notice a significant improvement in your pain and symptoms well before then – often within the first four to six weeks. For some patients, it’s a gradual change, while others experience an immediate and marked improvement. As your condition begins to get better, Dr. Rovner will recommend resuming light exercise, such as walking, swimming and riding a stationary bike, and slowly increasing your activity levels.

Potential Complications

As with all surgeries, there are some complications associated with lumbar spinal fusion procedures that patients should be aware of. They include:

  • Infection: An infection is always a risk after surgery. However, Dr. Rovner administers antibiotics before, during and after the procedure to reduce this risk.
  • Continued symptoms: If the surgery is not successful, some patients will continue to experience symptoms of their condition and may require an additional procedure.
  • Nerve damage: Very rarely, the surrounding nerves or blood vessels may be damaged during lumbar spinal fusion.

During your initial consultation, NJ spine surgeon Dr. Rovner will review these complications with you and outline the careful steps he takes to prevent them.

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What to Expect During Your Consultation

During your consultation with Dr. Rovner, a top spine fusion surgeon in NJ, he will be focused on assessing your condition and determining the ideal treatment course. He won’t recommend lumbar spinal fusion surgery if it isn’t absolutely necessary – but he’ll be honest with you about the limitations of conservative measures, especially when it comes to chronic back pain.

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When you arrive at our New Jersey office, Dr. Rovner will begin by collecting detailed information about your symptoms, including their onset, duration and any activities that exacerbate them. He’ll ask what treatments you’ve attempted and whether or not they have been successful.

From there, he will perform a comprehensive physical examination and order imaging tests. These results will guide his surgical plan, if you end up requiring lumbar spinal fusion. Depending on the outcome of your examination, he’ll counsel you on your options and help you determine which approach is in your best interest.

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