Are there any alternatives to traditional spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is sometimes used to treat degenerative spine conditions when nonsurgical treatments provide little to no relief after several weeks or months.

For many patients, traditional spinal fusion is a source of fear and anxiety because this procedure is often associated with a high risk of complication, such as infection and failed back surgery syndrome. It also requires several days of hospitalization, which can increase medical bills and add to the discomfort of being away from your own home.

These risks associated with traditional spinal fusion are less likely to occur during an alternative fusion procedure — minimally invasive stabilization surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication compared to traditional spine surgery.

Traditional fusions

A traditional fusion operation requires a large and deep incision that disrupts the muscles in the neck or back. These muscles support the spine, and when they are cut and torn, patients have to endure a longer recovery time while the muscles heal with the spine.

Once the muscles are torn and the spine is accessed, the surgeon then removes the deteriorated disc and replaces it with a metal cage. Bulky hardware is used to attach the cage to the vertebrae directly above and below. Once the spinal fusion is complete, the surgeon closes the incision with several stitches.

Patients who undergo traditional fusions generally remain hospitalized for two to five days and face lengthy rehabilitations as the disrupted muscles heal. The operation leaves patients with sizable scars, which can increase the risk of postsurgical complications such as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), which is the continuation or worsening of symptoms following spine surgery.

Minimally invasive alternatives

Laser Spine Institute offers a minimally invasive stabilization procedure as an alternative to traditional open spine fusion.

Our surgeons are able to prevent the disruption of muscles by making a small incision and pushing the muscles aside. This small, yet precise, step helps our patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose traditional spinal fusion. Once the surgeon has access to the affected disc, he or she replaces the disc with a small implant or artificial disc. In some cases, small bone grafts may be used in conjunction with the artificial disc to stabilize the spine.

Minimally invasive stabilization procedures at Laser Spine Institute are performed in our outpatient surgery centers, and patients are free to return to their homes or hotel rooms just a few hours after their procedures are complete.

Learn more

For more information about our minimally invasive alternatives to traditional spinal fusion surgeries, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can review your MRI report or CT scan and determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.