Arthrodesis is the surgical fusion of two bones in order to alleviate pain and provide additional stability to the joint. This treatment is particularly common in the spine and can be an effective treatment for patients suffering from a spine fracture, severe osteoarthritis, advanced spondylolisthesis, and other degenerative spine conditions. However, while this treatment can provide the patient with meaningful pain relief, it is almost always only considered when all other conservative, nonsurgical treatments have been attempted because there are a number of potential risks associated with arthrodesis.
Arthrodesis, or artificial ankylosis, is designed to completely fuse two joint surfaces together. As a result of this procedure, the patient permanently sacrifices flexibility at the joint, but also stabilizes the deteriorated joint. In regards to the spine, arthrodesis is effective when a facet joint that connects adjacent vertebrae has become injured and spinal misalignment is resulting in chronic back or neck pain.
The Procedure and Risks
During this procedure, an orthopedic surgeon will access the degenerated portion of the spine, either anteriorly or posteriorly, and carefully insert a bone graft or synthetic bone and metal hardware to correctly align the spine. The ultimate goal of this procedure is to remove the source of painful nerve compression in the spinal canal, ensure that the spine is correctly aligned, and allow the vertebrae to grow together over time, thus stabilizing the segment.
However, as with any major surgery, there are a number of notable risks that warrant consideration before arthrodesis is attempted, such as:
If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain and are considering arthrodesis, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn whether you may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient alternatives. We offer complimentary reviews of MRI and CT scans to determine your candidacy for one of our innovative procedures.
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