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Lumbar Translaminar Fixation

What does “Lumbar Translaminar Fixation” mean?

  Here is the meaning of each word:

  1. Lumbar: area of the spine located in the low back
  2. Translaminar: across the lamina bone on the back of the spine
  3. Fixation: to connect something together

Altogether, a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation is a surgery done in the low back where a device is placed across the lamina bone to connect a weakened area in bone to a stronger area.

What is a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation?

A Lumbar Translaminar Fixation procedure is done for a condition called “spondylolysis”. In this condition, the weakest part of the vertebra (pars interarticularis) has a stress fracture. A screw is placed across the pars interarticularis to fix the fracture.

Why is a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation done?

The stress fracture of a Spondylolysis typically does not heal by itself. Often patients will experience chronic back pain. Over time the vertebrae may begin to slip on each other, resulting in a Spondylolisthesis.

In some patients with Spondylolysis, a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation surgery is done to make the spine stable at the site of the stress fracture. The goal is to control the pain and prevent a slippage of the vertebra.

How is a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation surgery done?                                           

Here are some of the steps of the surgery:                                            

  1. An intravenous catheter (IV) is started and antibiotics are given.
  2. The patient is taken to the Operating Room and placed on the back (supine).
  3. A General Anesthetic is given.
  4. The patient is carefully placed on the stomach (prone).
  5. The low back is cleaned with a sterile surgical solution and sterile plastic sheets (drapes) are placed around the site of the surgery.
  6. A cut (incision) is made in the middle of the spine.
  7. The tissue under the skin is opened.
  8. The muscles attachments are separated from the vertebrae and the muscles are pushed to the side.
  9. The spinous process and lamina bones are found.
  10. With the help of an X-Ray machine a titanium screw is placed across the lamina bone and the site of the fracture at the part interarticularis. As the screw travels across the fracture, it pulls the two separated bones together.
  11. The tissue and skin is closed.
  12. The patient is placed on the back (supine) and awoken from Anesthesia.
  13. The patient is brought to the Recovery Area.

How long does a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation surgery take to complete?

                The surgery typically takes 1-2 hours to complete.


What is the recovery from a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation surgery like?

                Here are some of the steps of the recovery from this surgery:

  1. The patient is usually admitted to the hospital at least overnight.
  2. After discharge, restrictions on bending, lifting, twisting and other activities are given.
  3. A low back brace is sometimes used.
  4. The wound will take 4-6 weeks on average to heal completely.
  5. The surgeon usually reevaluates the patient within several weeks after the surgery. Typically more X-Rays are taken at that time.

What kind of benefit can patients gain from a Lumbar Translaminar Fixation surgery?

 Patients often get relief of their low back pain as the area heals. The surgery should stabilize the spine and prevent future slippage of the vertebrae.