Information about fusion of the spine procedures
Spinal fusion procedures are generally recommended for conditions affecting the spine that are causing severe spinal instability and symptoms that are not responding to conservative treatments. Before consenting to undergo any type of spine surgery, it is important to be confident about your decision.
In addition to making sure that conservative treatment options have been fully explored, you should learn as much as possible about this type of procedure and be aware of the full range of approaches that can be offered. The following basic overview of spinal fusion procedures is intended to help you work more closely with your doctor so you can get back to activities that you love.
What does fusion of the spine involve?
Traditional lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine fusion surgeries are operations that aim to minimize movement in the affected segment of your spine while maximizing stability. After removing all or part of a damaged disc that is often the source of spinal instability, bone grafts are then inserted into the disc space. This method is aimed at provoking a bone growth process so that the graft can fuse with the existing vertebrae, resulting in one solid segment of bone. While the fused segment of the spine will have reduced mobility, it will be more stable and less likely to cause painful nerve compression.
Conservative alternatives to spinal fusion
When performed as a traditional open spine procedure, fusion of the spine is quite involved, requiring a large incision that tears surrounding muscles. The hospitalization, lengthy recovery period and risks of this surgery should be avoided, if possible. In many cases, a course of pain medication, anti-inflammatory steroid injections, massage, physical therapy and stretching are all you need to effectively manage your symptoms.
Minimally invasive alternatives to open spinal fusion
For patients who have been recommended to undergo a traditional fusion procedure after fully exhausting conservative treatments, Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive stabilization procedures. These procedures accomplish the same goals as traditional fusion of the spine but use muscle-sparing techniques that allow them to be performed on an outpatient basis. The result is less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period^ when compared to traditional open spine fusion.