This technique achieves fusion of the lumbar spine from the front. It may be used to treat back pain due to disc degeneration. The incision is on the lower abdomen and a few days in hospital are needed.
Surgery is done through the lower abdomen and the front of the spine is revealed by retraction of abdominal contents and mobilising the large arteries and veins. Special circular retractors are used to maintain a clear view of the intervertebral disc in question. The disc is cut out and a specially designed hollow wedge (often referred to as a cage) is inserted in its place and secured with screws. Bone graft or synthetic substitute is used in the cage to generate bone fusion between the vertebrae.
There is some abdominal pain afterwards and painkillers are used. Walking from the first day after surgery is supported by the physiotherapy team. Time in hospital is a few days and from there most people go home.