Fusion surgery is a last resort for work-related cervical or neck injury. After fusion, most injured workers are given permanent work restrictions from their surgeon. If the work restrictions prevent a return to work in the same type of job that contributed to the workers compensation injury, there may be additional workers compensation benefits available - loss of earning capacity and/or vocational retraining benefits. A fusion surgery joins two or more bones into one solid bone. The purpose for doing spinal fusion is to increase the space between the vertebrae and to keep the sore joint from moving. This is usually done by placing a small block of bone graft in the space where a disc was removed. Opening up space enlarges the neural foramen, takes pressure off the nerve roots, and eases tension on the facet joints. Cervical fusion is used to treat neck problems such as cervical radiculopathy, disc herniations, fractures, and spinal instability.
Fusion surgery for workers comp low back pain is a reality for some injured workers and McCormick Law Office has years of experience representing these men and women in workers compensation claims. These are serious cases and require expert opinions and proper documentation to be successful. Following lumbar fusion, many workers have doctor assigned permanent work restrictions. If the workers comp related work restrictions preclude a return to work earning at least 85% of pre-injury wage rate, the worker has a claim for loss of earning capacity benefits. This is in addition to the temporary total disability benefit paid while off work and still in the healing period. There may also be permanent partial disability benefits.
Employees with degenerative disc disease from work duties over time have a workers compensation claim in Wisconsin if a doctor gives an expert opinion confirming causation. Then medical bills and temporary total disability benefits are payable. Very often the workers compensation insurer denies the claim with an independent medical exam or IME and the case proceeds with an attorney helping the injured worker. Most DDD cases are not surgical, but occasionally a fusion is necessary according to the doctors.
Lumbar degenerative disc disease diagnosis fusion surgery for an injured worker is usually a last resort after a trial of conservative treatment options. Fusion surgery joins two or more bones into one solid bone. This prevents the bones and joints from moving. The procedure is sometimes done with a discectomy. Mechanical pain is eased because the fusion holds the moving parts steady, so they can't cause irritation and inflammation. The main types of fusion for degenerative disc problems include anterior lumbar interbody fusion, posterior lumbar fusion and combined fusion. DDD can be aggravated by an on the job accident or DDD can be caused by job duties over time. Expert medical opinion is necessary to prove degenerative disc disease is work-related.