Nursing care of the patient undergoing lumbar spinal fusion

Maureen P. Lall


Lumbar spinal fusion is a surgical procedure performed to join—or fuse—2 or more vertebrae in the low back. The procedure is done to stabilize the spine and prevent damage to the cauda equina and emanating nerve roots. Lumbar fusion is commonly indicated for patients with vertebral fractures, infection, or spinal tumors, and it may be appropriate for select patients with degenerative disorders and spinal stenosis. Nurses who care for patients undergoing lumbar fusion require an understanding of lumbar spinal anatomy, spinal pathology, surgical indications, and diagnostic modalities. Knowledge of the distinct surgical approaches and their respective advantages and disadvantages allows nurses to individualize patient care and be alert to postoperative complications. This article reviews clinical and research literature regarding lumbar fusion, with an emphasis on the role of the nurse in promoting a safe perioperative course.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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