Gil Tepper, MD, FACS -  - Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Gil Tepper, MD, FACS

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon located in Sherman Oaks, CA & Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA

Lumbar Spine Surgery Specialist

When back pain requires lumbar surgery, it’s essential to turn to a highly-experienced and top-rated surgeon, such as Dr. Tepper of the Valley Spine Center, with offices in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks, California. Dr. Tepper’s expertise in lumbar surgery is sought out by patients across the greater Los Angeles area.

Lumbar Spine Surgery Q & A

by Gil Tepper, MD, FACS

What is Lumbar Spine Surgery?

Lumbar spine surgery is any type of surgery to the lower back or lumbar spine, between one or more vertebrae of the L1-S1 levels. There are two main types of lumbar spine surgery:

  • Lumbar Decompression - Used to relieve the pain (commonly called sciatica or radiculopathy) caused by nerve root pinching. This pressure is commonly the result of a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Decompression surgery entails the removal of a small portion of the bone covering the nerve root and/or disc material from underneath the nerve root in order to relieve pinching of the nerve and allow the nerve to heal.
  • Lumbar Fusion - The goal of this surgery is to target pain in the motion segment of the lower back. Lumbar Fusion is most commonly performed for disability and pain caused by a spondylolisthesis or degenerative disc disease. Spinal fusion surgery often employs a bone graft or surgery instrumentation (medical devices). A bone stimulator is sometimes used along with spinal fusion.

How Does a Person Decide if They Want Lumbar Spine Surgery?

A number of factors come into play when considering the need for lumbar surgery: general health, theĀ degree of pain or disability, non-surgical options if available, etc. A patient should always explore all options before surgery and consider if they are willing to do the physical therapy required after surgery. Surgery may be an option when a problem causes pain in a patient's leg that prevents doing everyday tasks.

How Long Does it Take for Recovery After Surgery?

That depends on the extent of surgery and a patientā€™s progress in therapy afterward. A comprehensive rehabilitation program is essential following most back surgeries. As flexibility is regained, the back and stomach muscles are reconditioned, and endurance for activity is increased, the chances of treatment success also increase.

A patient is only a good candidate for lumbar spine surgery if willing to commit to protracted physical therapy after surgery.

Insurance

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