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Dr. Joshua Rovner is one of the top providers of 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.

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.

Fracture

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.

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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.

Recovery

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.

If you are suffering from back or neck pain, it is crucial for you to receive a professional diagnosis as soon as possible. Dr. Rovner is one of the best spine surgeons in NJ who has the experience and expertise necessary to help patients actualize successful outcomes with orthopedic spine surgery.

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