Phone: (540) 361-1830
After Hours/Weekends: (540) 604-0779

Neck, Back, and Spine

Specialties

Dr. Kirchmier specializes in the following areas, among others:
  • Spinal Stenosis 
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Fusion (Lumbar and Cervical)
  • Pinched Nerves, Spinal Spondylolisthis 
Specialties

Dr. Kirchmier is regionally recognized for providing excellent neck, back and spine care.  His areas of expertise include:

  • Spinal Stenosis 
  • Herniated Discs
  • Pinched Nerves, Spinal Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal Fusion (Lumbar and Cervical)
  • Cervical Radiculopathy / Myelopathy
Whenever possible Dr. Kirchmier and his team treat back, neck, and spine pain with physical therapy and non-surgical intervention.  Should the need for surgery arise, common surgical procedures performed by Dr. Kirchmier include:
  • Laminectomy  
  • Diskectomy / Microdisectomy
  • Microdecompression
  • Spinal Fusion with placement of spinal instrumentation
  • ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion)
  • Cervical disc replacement
  • Posterior neck foraminotomy and fusions
  • Spinal reconstructive procedures to address more complicated disorders (i.e. scoliosis, other spinal deformities, instability, trauma)
One area where Dr. Kirchmier has had a lot of success is with Spinal Fusion. Below you will find an in depth discussion of spinal fusion and some educational material.  

Spinal fusion is a procedure that may be used to treat several conditions and deformities affecting the spine. During this procedure, two or more vertebrae in the spine are fused together to eliminate pain or stabilize the spine.

Our spine specialist, Dr. Raymond Kirchmier, has over 25 years of experience with spine procedures, including spinal fusion. Dr. Kirchmier completed a fellowship in spine surgery at Minnesota Spine Center and trained under Dr. Robert Winter at the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center, a renowned fellowship program for spinal reconstructive and deformity surgery. Dr. Kirchmier is also trained in nonsurgical treatment of spinal conditions and deformities, and only recommends surgery when he feels it is the best option for the patient.

What Conditions May Be Treated with Spinal Fusion?

Spinal fusion may be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Scoliosis
  • Cervical disc herniation
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Recurrent lumbar disc herniation
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Trauma
  • Dr. Kirchmier performs spinal fusion procedures in the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid-back), and lumbar spine (lower back).

Whenever possible, Dr. Kirchmier recommends nonsurgical treatments, including medications and physical therapy, to treat spinal conditions. Some spinal conditions and deformities may also be treated with less invasive procedures like a discectomy or a microdecompression. However, in some cases, a spinal fusion is needed to achieve the best possible results. Dr. Kirchmier evaluates each patient on an individual basis and makes recommendations based on what is best for the patient.

Spinal Fusion Procedure

During a spinal fusion procedure, Dr. Kirchmier usually removes the disc between the vertebrae. Commonly the cartilage between the joints being fused is also removed, and then a bone graft material is used to help weld the two or more vertebra together.  Also commonly placed are internal fixation devices such as plates, screws, rods, cages and other spacers to provide stability and are designed to enhance the success of your spinal fusion.

The approach Dr. Kirchmier uses for a spinal fusion will vary depending on the patient’s condition and the location of the problem:

  • Anterior approach - With this approach, Dr. Kirchmier makes an incision at the front of the neck or lower abdomen to access the spine.
  • Posterior approach - With the posterior, Dr. Kirchmier makes an incision in the back to access the spine. 
  • Lateral approach - Dr. Kirchmier accesses the spine via an incision in the patient’s side.

There are potential advantages and disadvantages to each approach, depending on the patient’s condition and location of the problem. Dr. Kirchmier will recommend the approach best suited to the patient’s needs and anatomy and tailor the procedure to the individual problem.

Recovering from Spinal Fusion

The recovery process for a spinal fusion procedure can vary depending on the approach, the location of the procedure (neck, mid-back, or lower back), and the patient’s individual needs. In some cases, patients can return home the day of surgery, while others will require a one or more night stay in the hospital. Dr. Kirchmier will advise on what is best for your needs and safety.

To help manage pain in recovery, Dr. Kirchmier uses a multi-modal approach, including analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications, nerve membrane stabilizers, occasionally steroids, and muscle relaxers. This approach helps patients minimize the use of opioid pain medications.

After surgery, patients begin mobilizing the spine early, but gradually. Sometimes, a brace or cervical collar is recommended to help ease the patient back into activity. If physical therapy is needed, it is typically started 2-3 months after surgery to give the spine time to heal. Full recovery times will vary depending on the location of the procedure, and can range from several weeks to several months, up to 6-9 months before complete healing is expected. Dr. Kirchmier will advise when it is safe to return to specific activities.

The potential risk for serious complications for spinal fusion surgery is low, however less serious complications can usually be addressed without negatively affecting your long term outcome, and all precautions are taken to lessen the chance of these risks from developing.  Dr. Kirchmier will review these with you, and answer any concerns you have regarding the procedure.  Post-operative short-term and long-term activity recommendations and restrictions will be discussed by Dr. Kirchmier in detail.  The goal of fusion surgery is to restore your function and improve your quality of life with less pain. 

Spinal Fusion Surgery in Fredericksburg, VA

Dr. Raymond Kirchmier, our spine specialist, has over 25 years of experience and completed a spine surgery fellowship at one of the top facilities in the country. Dr. Kirchmier recommends non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments whenever possible, and only recommends spinal fusion when he feels it is necessary to achieve the best results for the patient. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kirchmier, please call our office at (540) 361-1830 or use our appointment request form.