Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX

Relief from Lower Back and Neck Pain

surgery optionsavoid surgery
      At the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI), we specialize
                 in non-surgical as well as surgical treatments
                                of Back and Neck  Pain
     Conservative to Surgical Options: MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINE SUGERY 
 "Applying Science to the Art of Medicine"                                                  
                 Dr. Kraus is available for Neurosurgery consultation (surgical and non-surgical) in Houston.
                      Offices:  1) West Houston Medical Center
                                    2) Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital
                                    3) Katy
           FILM REVIEW:  send an e mail                                       
      To arrange  an appointment, call 281-870-9292,  visit
or   send an e mail
              For national and international patients, we can help with  travel arrangements
                                         top doctors houston texas 2007 top docs united states neurosurgery spine   top doctors houston texas 2008 top docs united states neurosurgery spine  top doctors houston texas 2009 top docs united states neurosurgery spine   best doctors in america, united states neurosurgery spine
                                            Dr. Kraus is honored to be listed in
                                            "Best Doctors in America" (2001-2008) and
                                             "Top Doctors of Houston, Texas" (2007, 2008, 2009)     

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Low Back Pain, can be very debilitating.  The effects of Low Back Pain in the USA are staggering!!

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   last updated
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Fusion actually means the growing together of the bones of several different vertebral body segments.  This is accomplished in the lumbar spine by several different means. 

  •  houston, river oaks, west houston, neurosurgeon, neurosurgery, surgerylaying bone along the gutters of the spine, over the transverse processes;  this should result in a fusion mass
    • the bone graft may consist of the removed bone from the spine itself
    • the bone graft may consist of bone taken from a donor site on the patient, such as the hip
    • the bone graft may consist of a combination of the above
    • bone growth enhancing products may be mixed in with the bone to help it to grow
    • in the near future, products such as bone morphogenic protein may be available on a widespread basis
    • a bone growth stimulator may be incorporated to promote bone growth
  • placing bone within the interspace between adjacent vertebral bodies, with the goal that the bodies themselves fuse together
  • combination of bone in the lateral gutters as well as between the vertebral bodies

Seen above, on the right, is a model of a lumbar spine, with bone graft laid over the transverse processes.  Under the grafted bone is a bone growth stimulator.  The wires of the stimulator can be seen.

houston, river oaks, west houston, neurosurgeon, neurosurgery, surgeryOften, instruments or hardware are used to help with the fusion. These are not essential, but do help to promote a good, solid fusion.   The instruments help to prevent any "micromotion" while the bone graft is healing.  {On the left is a spine model with pedicle screws placed.  A rod is connecting the screws on both sides}


One can think of the analogy of a broken porcelain plate.  It is well and good to apply glue to the edges, but unless the pieces remain stable and immobile relative to each other, the pieces of the plate will not adequately fuse together.  And likewise with the spine.

houston, river oaks, west houston, neurosurgeon, neurosurgery, surgeryhouston, river oaks, west houston, neurosurgeon, neurosurgery, surgeryThe instruments themselves are not strong enough to withstand the years of punishment the wear and tear of the body will place upon them, and they will break and fail.  They are only meant as a temporary fixation device, until the bone from the fusion has healed.  One's own bone is, in the long run, much stronger than the titanium and steel hardware implanted within the body.  Pictured above are a screw and plate set, and a rod, used for a typical instrumented fusion.  There are many different types of hardware manufactured.

Approaches to the lumbar spine can be either from the front (anterior, through the abdomen), or from the back (posterior)

Posterior placement of instruments

Anterior placement of instruments


SMOKING has been shown to reduce the likelihood of  successful healing of a fusion mass, particularly with posterlateral fusions.





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