Author: Mauricio A. Valdes, M.D.
Spinal fusion is one of the most common types of back surgery. If you have lower back pain, your physician may have recommended you to a Phoenix spinal surgeon for this procedure. In this blog post, I will answer a few of the most common questions patients have about spinal fusion.
#1 What is spinal fusion?
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae in the spine are fused together. The objective is for multiple vertebrae to become a single, solid bone mass. This reduces mobility in the spine, thereby reducing pain caused by movement of the vertebrae.
#2 What conditions can spinal fusion treat?
Spinal fusion can be used to treat broken vertebrae that are not healing on their own. It can also treat spinal weakness or instability (sometimes caused by arthritis) and herniated disks. Some spinal deformities, such as scoliosis and kyphosis, may be treated with this surgery, as well. Many patients with spondylolisthesis, a spinal disorder characterized by the forward displacement of a vertebra (commonly following a break or a fracture), undergo spinal fusion surgery to treat their back pain.
#3 Are there risks associated with spinal fusion?
By limiting mobility in one section of the spine, spinal fusion puts extra stress on the vertebrae above and below the operative area. Over the long-term, some patients may need additional treatment for these disks. While spinal fusion is typically very safe, the standard surgical risks still apply. These include bleeding, infection, blood clots, and injury to nerves, blood vessels, and structures around the spine and bone graft site.
#4 What happens during the procedure?
Spinal fusion is oftentimes performed as a minimally invasive surgery. During the procedure (which occurs with the patient under general anesthesia), your Phoenix spinal surgeon will make an incision either directly over the spine, on the side of the spine, or in the abdomen. A bone graft taken from your own body or a bone bank is placed between the vertebrae, and metal screws, rods, or plates are inserted to stabilize the vertebrae while the bone graft forms into a solid mass.
Learn More About Spinal Fusion At Hedley Ortho (Phoenix & Tempe, AZ)
To learn more about spinal fusion, you can schedule an appointment with a spinal surgeon in Phoenix or Tempe, AZ through Hedley Orthopaedic Institute. Contact Hedley Ortho today.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.