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Platelet Rich Plasma and Lumbar Spinal Fusion

May 11, 2018by Doug Ginter

We talk about back pain as the evil of the century, a very widespread disorder. However, back pain does not mean a particular disease, but a set of symptoms that can have multiple causes, serious or not, acute or chronic, inflammatory or mechanical, etc. This sheet is not intended to list all possible causes of back pain, but rather to offer a solution to one of the possible attacks. If you have a lower back pain, it’s quite obvious that your lumbar vertebrae are in danger and you may require a special treatment called lumbar spinal fusion.


Maybe you’ve looked in the wrong way by lifting something heavy or you’re dealing with a degenerative disease like arthritis. Whatever the cause, once you have low back pain, it can be difficult to manage daily activities and movements. Almost everyone can expect low back pain at some point in their life. In this case, what should you do?

PRP and lumbar spinal fusion

The lumbar spine is the portion of the vertebral column below the thorax at the level of the lower back. It is composed of 5 vertebrae. Each vertebra has a central opening through which the spinal cord passes. Each of them is separated by a small cushion called inter-vertebral disk as shown in this figure.


The operation is done under general anesthesia and lasts about 3-4 hours. The incision is usually 3 to 6 cm. It consists of fusing vertebrae together to limit the movement causing pain.


Why practice lumbar spinal fusion?

The surgeon can perform lumbar spinal fusion in the following cases:

  • lower back pain caused by damage to the inter-vertebral discs (wear, herniated disc, inflammation or edema). Such conditions are often of degenerative origin (joint aging).
  • Injuries or fractures of the bones of the spine
  • Instability of the spine due to infection or tumor
  • Spondylolisthesis: a condition characterized by the sliding of vertebrae.
  • In case of spinal stenosis: narrowing of a part of the spine causing irritation to the spinal cord or the roots of one or more nerves

Surgery corrects the effects of nerve compression but does not correct osteoarthritis (wear), which causes chronic back pain. It makes it possible to stabilize the current deficit and to avoid the progression of the attacks. However, the emergence of new techniques in this field has improved the effectiveness of Lumbar spine fusion. This technique involves the injection of platelet-rich plasma(PRP).

Platelet-rich plasma ( PRP ) has been shown to repair damaged discs. PRP is a component that separates autologous blood from autologous blood by enriching platelets rich in bioactive factors that contribute to the homeostasis of the disc. The theoretical basis for supporting PRP for the treatment of a large number of musculoskeletal diseases is the role of growth factors in the human body repair process.

In the early stage of inter-vertebral disc degeneration, functional cells remaining in the inter-vertebral discs are proliferated after exposure to a large number of growth factors, and the collagen in the annulus fibrosis also re-aggregates, helping to restore the structure and function of the degenerated inter-vertebral disc. Platelet-rich plasma has a large number of growth factors and can, therefore, be used for the treatment of disc degeneration.

Doug Ginter