Important spinal fusion information

Spinal fusion is a major surgery that is used to treat a variety of neck and back conditions, including degenerative disc disease. Spinal fusion surgery often occurs after significant changes have been made to the structure of the spine. For example, if a damaged disc is removed from the spine during a cervical disc replacement, a spinal fusion will be necessary to stabilize the spine around the now-empty disc space. This is a common procedure for severe cases of herniated disc, bulging disc and other degenerative disc diseases. A spinal fusion could also be used to treat injury or birth defects, such as adult scoliosis.

Since spinal fusion is a major surgery and does come with certain risks, you should always research the treatment options and alternatives before committing to this procedure. As you research the types of treatments available to you, we encourage you to contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute with any questions or concerns regarding your condition or our minimally invasive spine surgery. We are here to help guide you on your journey to wellness.

Traditional spinal fusion

Traditional spinal fusion often involves a highly invasive approach to the spine, as well as a metal fusion to support the weak area of the spine. A few techniques of spinal fusion surgery include:

  • Removing damaged, diseased and injured parts of the spine such as the discs and vertebrae
  • Placing grafted bone over the place where diseased bone and tissue were removed, which may come from a donor site in your own body, from a cadaver or from a synthetic bone
  • Using metal rods and plates to stabilize the fusion area while the grafted bone permanently unites the fused vertebrae

Traditional spinal fusion begins with a large incision in the neck or back, cutting through the muscles surrounding the spine and exposing the patient to an increased risk of infection of up to 19 percent and a 16.4 percent risk of postoperative complications.^ This procedure typically results in two to five days of hospital stay and requires a lengthy recovery.

One type of complication is called failed back surgery syndrome, which is caused by excessive scar tissue buildup from the large incision that prevents the fusion from taking place. In order to lower your risk of this and other possible complications, you should consider the minimally invasive alternatives offered at Laser Spine Institute.

Minimally invasive alternatives to spinal fusion

Laser Spine Institute offers several innovative minimally invasive procedures to treat degenerative disc disease and many other conditions. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures are performed through a small muscle-sparing incision in the neck or back and offer many advantages over procedures performed by other providers. In fact, our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back fusion.^

Additionally, once the damaged disc is removed, a board-certified surgeon+ will replace it with an artificial disc and use a bone graft to support the spine if necessary. This helps our patients experience natural mobility and range of motion after recovery, as opposed to traditional fusion that permanently fuses two or more vertebrae together and limits mobility in the damaged area of the spine.

At Laser Spine Institute, all of our minimally invasive procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Our technique results in no lengthy recovery,^ allowing you to get back to your normal activities much more quickly. We have had the privilege of helping more than 75,000 patients since 2005 find relief from their chronic neck and back conditions through our minimally invasive alternatives to spinal fusion.

Reach out to Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our procedures and to receive an initial no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.