How to determine when spinal fusion is necessary

Spinal fusion treatment can be an excellent option for patients who have debilitating spinal conditions that range from degenerative disc disease to scoliosis. With that in mind, surgical fusion treatment is generally pursued only in the cases of patients who have found little to no relief after attempting to remedy their situation with the conservative treatments outlined below.

Conservative treatments

Conservative, or nonsurgical, spinal treatments come in a variety of options, and your doctor will recommend solutions based on your particular condition. Sometimes, the suggested treatment will involve a short period of bed rest, as longer periods of rest can actually worsen symptoms.

Another option is to perform certain exercises in order to increase the flexibility and strength of your back. You may also be advised to take over-the-counter or prescription drugs to address your inflammation, pain and other issues related to your condition.

In addition to these typical treatments, many patients find relief using alternative forms of therapy, which might include chiropractic sessions, acupuncture, yoga or Pilates. The effectiveness of these approaches is debated within the medical community, but they are still worth a try.

Spinal fusion

If, after several weeks or months of attempting these conservative treatments, you have seen little to no progress in managing your pain, addressing any weakness or remedying other associated symptoms, your physician might recommend spinal fusion treatment. Spinal fusion is designed to address joint movement within the spine that might be contributing to pain, whether it’s caused by conditions such as spondylolisthesis, a collapsed spinal disc, spinal osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease.

Fusion treatment, in simple terms, involves removing part of a spinal disc, inserting a bone graft into the empty disc space, then inducing a biological response to grow the bone further. The result is a bony fusion between two or more vertebrae. Not only can this growth stabilize the spine, but it can provide relief from pain and other symptoms. When investigating spinal fusion treatment, it is crucial to examine all the options you have available.

In addition to the traditional open back approach to such procedures, there are also minimally invasive options available, in the form of Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive spine surgery. These less invasive techniques often mean less recovery time for the patient and safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine procedures.^ To learn more about our outpatient spinal fusion, contact us today.

Laser Spine Institute’s experienced surgeons specialize in minimally invasive spinal procedures, including spinal fusion treatment options. Our spinal fusion is performed using a small incision and muscle-sparing techniques, which result in less bleeding and less risk of complication compared to traditional procedures.^

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. To find out if you are a candidate for our procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.* Our goal is to help you recover quickly so that you can get back to the activities you love.