BY: Jonathan A. Hyde, MD
For degenerative conditions of the lumbosacral junction (L5/S1), stabilization procedures have been developed for chronic pain syndromes. The initial forms of fusion for this area were that with the use of open surgical procedures in which bone is placed along the sides adjacent to the spinal segment (in situ fusion). Over the years, different techniques have been utilized, most commonly an in situ fusion with the addition of pedicle screws/rods. For more advanced problems, use of cadaveric rings or implanted cages have been placed in conjunction with the screws to add to the biomechanical strength of the fusion. These techniques have significant morbidites, such as blood loss with need for transfusion, wound healing/infection issues, lengthly hospital stays, and long anesthesia times.