Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion is a kind of spine surgery where two bones in the spine are joined together. This means joining the bones permanently so that there is no longer movement between the vertebrae. This procedure is usually done along with other surgical procedures.

The procedure involves general anesthesia. The patient will be asleep the whole time of the surgery. Surgeon will have several options on where to make the cut. Your surgeon may make a cut in your neck or back. Patients will lie face down in the operating table. Tissues and muscles are set aside so as to expose the spine.

For surgery done in the lower back, surgeon may make an incision in one side of your belly. Surgeon will make use of tools like retractors to slowly separate the blood vessels and soft tissues so they have room to work. Another option is to make an incision in the front of the neck.

Most of the time, foraminotomy, laminectomy or discectomy is always done first before spinal fusion. The procedure involves using a bone graft to hold the bone together permanently. The material for bone graft can be taken from specific part of your body around your pelvic bone, from a bone bank or a synthetic bone substitutes although this is still uncommon. The surgeon also makes use of cages, plates or screws to fix the bones together. This supports the vertebrae and keeps it from being move till they get fully healed. The surgery usually takes three to four hours.

Spinal fusion is usually recommended to patients who suffer from persistent pain despite other treatment alternatives use. Other reason why this procedure is perform is when there is fracture or injury in the bones in the spine, has abnormal curvatures such in a case of scoliosis, use after discetomy in the neck, unstable or weak spine because of tumors or infections and spondylolisthesis.

Several studies were done in relation to spinal fusion surgery. One study showed that patients who undergo surgery has significant improvement in the results than those who were treated non-surgically ( N Engl J Med. 2008)