Complications of traditional fusion

When you make the decision to undergo a traditional spinal fusion surgery, potential complications are likely at the front of your mind. Of course, the potential for complications is a risk that you need to be aware of and accept prior to any type of surgery. However, traditional open spine fusion is a highly invasive operation and will naturally pose a higher risk of complications than a more minimally invasive spine stabilization surgery. The following article will provide a helpful guide to understanding the complications of traditional open spine surgery and the alternatives available to this procedure.

What is involved in traditional fusion?

Traditional spinal fusion surgery involves a 6- to 8-inch incision in the neck, throat, abdomen or back, depending on the location of damage to the patient’s spine. Any muscles and other soft tissues that are covering the spinal column are then cut and torn to give the surgeon access to the affected area. The bone or disc material that is causing nerve compression is then removed and a bone graft is inserted into the space between the vertebrae formerly occupied by the damaged disc. Rods and plates are anchored into the vertebrae using screws, which hold the bones in place while healing occurs.

Risks of traditional fusion surgery

The highly invasive nature of a traditional fusion may cause the following complications:

  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)

Open spinal fusion also requires a two- to five-day hospital stay and has the potential for a long and painful rehabilitation between six months to a year. Due to these reasons, a spinal fusion is often seen as the last resort for a patient experiencing severe pain and symptoms.

Knowing your options

If you have a degenerative spine condition and have not been able to find relief with several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatments, you may be considering the option of spine surgery. If your physician or a spine surgeon has recommended spinal fusion, be sure that you know all of your options before consenting. As you research your options, keep in mind that the minimally invasive surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute is a safer and effective alternative to traditional fusion surgery.^

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive stabilization procedures that greatly reduce the risk of the traditional fusion complications. For example, our infection rate is 0.29 percent,^ which is significantly lower than other spine surgery providers who have an infection rate of up to 19 percent. To learn more about the advantages of choosing our procedures to help you find lasting relief, contact our dedicated team today.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and most patients are able to be up and walking within a few hours of surgery.^ This streamlined experience reduces hospital-associated costs and helps patients return to their lives faster.^ To find out if you may be a candidate for our procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute and ask for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.