Spinal Fusion

Nearly everyone will experience back pain at some point in his or her lifetime. In many cases, that pain can be resolved through basic, at-home care or with nonsurgical treatment options.

But in some cases, pain may be severe, or it may linger or have a debilitating effect on a person’s mobility or quality of life. In those situations, spinal fusion may be an option.

Spinal fusion is often an option for patients who have:

  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Scoliosis or kyphosis
  • Spinal infections
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Vertebral fracture
  • During a back-fusion surgery

During a back-fusion surgery, two vertebrae in the neck or back are joined together — or “fused.” This stops movement between the vertebrae, which is often a source of pain and discomfort.

If your back pain is accompanied by leg or arm pain, your spinal fusion procedure may also involve a laminectomy, a procedure that removes bone and diseased tissue that may be putting pressure on your nerves and causing discomfort.

What to Expect From Spinal Fusion

The spinal fusion procedure can often be done on a minimally invasive basis, meaning that it is performed through a few small incisions. This will allow for a quicker recovery and less risk of complications. During the procedure, a bone graft is used to fuse two vertebrae together.

After back fusion surgery, you can expect to spend several days in the hospital for recovery, and you may need to spend additional time recovering in a rehabilitation center before resuming normal life.

Because it will take some time for your body to form bone around the graft between your vertebrae, you may need to wear a neck or back brace for several weeks after surgery. Physical therapy will also be required to help you regain abilities and learn ways to walk, sit and stand that will protect your spine.

During your recovery, it’s important to listen carefully to your medical team and follow all instructions for optimal results.

Types of back surgery vary. Talk with your provider about the best option for your condition and situation.

If conservative treatment hasn’t relieved your back pain, spinal fusion might be the solution. Call 480-558-3744 to schedule an appointment.

Sources: National Association of Spine Specialists, Medline Plus, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthritis Foundation