Spinal Fusion Procedure

spinal-fusion-1Spinal Fusion Procedure

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that is recommended to correct issues with small bones of the vertebrae or spine. It is the process of “welding’ or fusing bones together, with the goal of healing the painful vertebrae so that they can heal into one single solid bone.

Spine surgery is normally recommended only once the surgeon has pinpointed the source of the pain. To Identify the source of spinal pain, several test may be done, such s x-rays, Computer tomography (CT) scan, and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Spinal fusion may help to relieve symptoms of many different types conditions such as:

  • Degenerative Disk Disease
  • Fracture
  • Infection
  • Tumor
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal stenosisSpinal Fusion 2

Spinal fusion prevents the movement between vertebrae. It also stops the stretching of nerves and surrounding ligaments and muscles. It is considered when motion is the source of pain. This movement typically occurs in the arthritic portion of a spine. The concept is that if the vertebrae stop movement, then the pain caused by movement will also be stopped.

Spinal Fusion 1If you someone has leg pain in addition to back pain, the surgeon may also perform decompression (laminectomy). This operation involves removing bone and disease issues that put pressure on the spinal nerves.

Fusion will take away some of the spines flexibility, most spinal fusion include only small segments of the spine and do not limit movement very much.

Lumbar spinal fusion surgery has been performed for several decades. Many different techniques can be used to fuse the spine. There are also various “approaches” the surgeon can take for the procedure.

Your surgeon can also address your spine from the front. This is an `anterior approach and requires an incision in the lower abdomen.

A posterior approach is implemented form the back. Alternatively, the surgeon may approach your spine from the side called a lateral approach.

Minimally invasive methods have also been developed. These types allow fusions to be performed with smaller incisions.
The best procedures will depend on the nature and the location of your disease.

Spinal Fusion 1Bone Grafting

All spinal fusions use as a bone material called a bone graft. The bone graft help develops the fusion. Small pieces of bone are placed onto space between the vertebrae to be fused.

A bone graft is primarily used to stimulate bone restoration, It improves bone production and helps the vertebrae recover together into a solid bone. On occasion larger, solid pieces are used to provide immediate structural support to the vertebrae.

Lumbar Spine Surgery Posterior Interbody… by MedilawTV

Historically bone graft harvested from the patient’s hip was the only option for fusion the vertebrae. This type of graft is described as an autograft. Harvesting a bone graft requires an additional incision during the operation. It lengthens surgery and can cause prolonged pain after the operation.

One alternative to harvesting a bone graft is an allograft; whatever is cadaver bone. An allograft is typically obtained from a bone bank.

There is a various artificial bone graft materials have also been developed.

Spinal Fusion 4Demineralized bone matrices (DBMs)- Calcium is eliminated from cadaver bone to form DBMs. Once the bone has no mineral left, it can be transformed into a putty or gel-like material. DBMS are normally combined with other types of grafts, and may contain proteins that well help the bone heal.

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs)- These are very strong synthetic bone-forming proteins promote a solid fusion. They are approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration for use in the spine in certain situations. Autografts may not be needed when BMP’s are used.

Ceramics – Synthetic calcium/phosphate materials are similar in shape and consistency to autograft bone.

This surgeon will discuss with the patient the type of bone graft material will work best for your condition and procedure.

After the bone graft, the vertebrae need to hold together to help the fusion progress. Your such may sugar a brace.
In many cases, doctors will use plates screws, and rods to help hold the spine still. This is referred to as an internal fixation, and may increase the rate of successful healing. With the added stability of internal fixation, most patients can move earlier after surgery.

Spinal Fusion Complications

Like any surgical procedure, there is potential risk associated with spinal fusions. It is important to discuss all of these risks with your surgeon before your procedure.

Infection – antibiotics are regularly given to the patient before, during and often after surgery to lessen the risk of infections.
Pain at the site of the graft – A small percentage of patients will experience present pain at the bone graft site.
Bleeding – A certain amount of bleeding is expected, but this is not typically significant.
Recurring symptoms – Some patients may experience recurrence of their original symptoms.

Pseudarthrosis – Patients who smoke have had a higher likelihood to develop pseudarthrosis. This is a condition where there is not enough bone formation. If the occurs, a second synergy may need to obtain a solid fusion.

Nerve damage – It is possible that the nerves or blood vessels may be injured during these operations. These complications are quite rare.
Blood clots – Another uncommon complication is the formation of blood clots in the legs, This can cause significant damage if they break off and travel to the lungs.

Warming Signs – It is important that you carefully follow any instructions from your doctor relating to warning sign of blood clots and infections. These developments are most likely to occur during the first few weeks after surgery.

Warning signs of possible blood clots include the following:

    • Swelling in the calf, ankle or foot
    • Tenderness or redness, which may spread above or below the knee.
    • Pain in the calf.

Occasionally a blood clot will move through the blood stream and may settle in your lungs. If this happens, you may encounter sudden chest pain and shortness of breath or a cough, If you feel any of these symptoms, you should notify your hospital eagerly room or call 911. Infections following spine surgery rarely occurs. Warning signs of an infection can induce

  • Drainage of the wound
  • chills and shaking
  • Evaluated temperature, usually above 100°F, if taken with an oral thermometer.
  • Pain or tenderness


The fusion process takes time. It may be several months before months before the bone is solid although your comfort level will often improve much faster. During the healing time, the fused spine must be kept in correct alignment. You will be taught how to move probably reposition sit to stand and walk.

Your symptoms will gradually improve. So will your activity level. Right after your operaton, your doctor may recommend light exercise, like walking. As you regain strength, you will be able to increase your activity level slowly.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle and following your doctor’s instructions will significantly increase your chances for a successful outcome.

Health Life Media Team