Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that involves joining two or more vertebrae in the spine to eliminate any movement between them. Meanwhile, vertebrae are interlocking 33 individual bones that form your spinal column.
In current orthopedics, doctors can use methods designed to mimic the usual healing process of a broken bone. Thus, they can treat conditions in your spine and improve stability. Also, you can have surgery to eliminate certain deformities or stabilize your spine after a damaged disk removal.
To create a connection, your surgeon uses bone or bone-like materials within the space between two vertebrae. Then, you may need metal plates, screws, and rods to hold the vertebrae together. Your bones should heal into one solid unit.
Patients who undergo spinal fusion surgery typically experience a significant reduction in lower back pain. Here at Istanbul At Med Assist, we utilize cutting-edge techniques to provide exceptional healthcare services.
Why It’s Done
Improving stability, reducing pain, or correcting a deformity are the benefits of this procedure.
You may need spinal fusion if you have the following:
- Spinal Deformity. Spinal fusion can correct spinal deformities such as a sideways spine curve.
- Weakness or instability. Abnormal or excessive motion between two vertebrae can make your spine unstable. It is a side effect of severe arthritis in the spine. In this case, spinal fusion can secure the balance in your spine and eliminate the side effect.
- Damaged disk. Surgeons can stabilize your spine after the removal of a damaged disk.
How You Prepare
Before surgery, they may trim the hair over the surgery site and clean the area with a special soap or antiseptic. Also, your surgery team may order a swab sample from your nose to monitor unhealthy bacteria. Lastly, it would be best to tell your doctor about any medications you take. They may ask you to stop taking certain medicines before surgery.
Spinal Fusion Procedure
Surgeons use general anesthesia to perform spinal fusion, so you will not feel anything. There are a variety of techniques to perform a spinal fusion. So, the proper technique depends on the reason for your surgery and the location of the vertebrae to be fused. In some cases, general health and body shape are important to determine the technique.
Spinal fusion involves the following:
- An incision. Your surgeon makes an incision to access the vertebrae in one of three locations:
- Neck or back, right over your spine
- Either side of your spine
- Abdomen or throat, to gain access from the front
- Preparing bone graft. Bone grafts may come from a bone bank or you, usually from your pelvis. If it is your bone, the surgeon makes an incision above your pelvic bone to remove a small portion of it. Then, it closes the incision.
- Fusion. Your surgeon places the bone graft between your vertebrae to fuse them permanently. Lastly, you may have metal plates, screws, or rods to help hold the vertebrae together while the bone graft heals.
For certain patients, surgeons can use synthetic substances instead of bone grafts. They help to promote bone growth and speed the fusion of the vertebrae.
After Spinal Fusion
Following the surgery, you stay at the hospital for 2-3 days. You may experience some pain and discomfort, but medications will help you to manage it.
During home recovery, please be careful about any signs of infection. Such as:
- Fever higher than 38 C (100.4 F)
- Redness, tenderness, or swelling
- Wound drainage
- Shaking chills
It may take several months for your bones to heal and fuse in your spine. You may need to wear a brace for a time so your spine stays aligned. Physical therapy will help you learn how to move, sit, stand, and walk during your recovery.
Spinal fusion effectively treats fractures, deformities, or instability in your spine. However, the cause of your back or neck pain may be unclear. In this case, spinal fusion may not be helpful more than nonsurgical treatments.
You should know that spinal fusion relieves your pain but does not cure arthritis. In other words, it does not prevent back pain that may develop.