WHAT IS A SPINAL FUSION?
A spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that permanently joins two or more vertebrae. When the bones are fused, movement is eliminated, which stabilizes your spine and alleviates pain.
WHEN IS A SPINAL FUSION PERFORMED?
The team at Spinetech may recommend spinal fusion as the primary treatment for conditions such as:
Spine deformity such as kyphosis or scoliosis
Spinal instability due to compression fractures or osteoarthritis
Spinal fusions are also frequently performed following surgery to decompress spinal nerves and treat back conditions such as:
Enlarged facet joints
Spondylolisthesis (slipped disc)
Degenerative disc disease
Surgical repair for many of these conditions means removing discs and parts of the vertebrae. Although that treats the underlying condition, eliminating part of the supporting structure creates instability. A spinal fusion restores stability.
HOW IS SPINAL FUSION PERFORMED?
The experienced surgeons at Spinetech access your spine from the front, back, or side, depending on the underlying condition and the area of your spine being fused. No matter which approach is used, the fusion procedure is the same.
To perform a spinal fusion, bone graft material is placed between the vertebrae, then metal plates, screws, or rods are used to hold the vertebrae in place while the bones heal.
The purpose of the graft material is to promote bone growth. The graft can come from your hip bone, which contains living cells to activate bone growth. Your doctor may use graft material from a bone bank, a synthetic bone replacement, or a fusion cage.
The cage is made of a biocompatible material that your doctor fills with substances that trigger bone growth. The two vertebrae regrow new bone around and through the cage, or other graft material, eventually meeting together and forming one solid bone.
CAN SPINAL FUSION BE PERFORMED USING MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY?
The team at Spinetech specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, which includes spinal fusions. Minimally invasive surgery uses narrow tools inserted through a very small incision. Small incisions cause less trauma, which means that your postoperative pain is diminished.
Minimally invasive surgery offers another advantage: Your muscles aren’t cut to access the spine. Instead, they’re gently separated to create an opening that’s just large enough for the surgical tools. Once your spinal fusion is finished, the muscles return to their original position intact. Since your muscles aren’t cut, your recovery is quicker.
If you have back pain or you may need a spinal fusion, call Spinetech or book an appointment online.