Spinal Fusion Surgery:
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae in the spine are joined together. The procedure eliminates pain and instability caused by conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or scoliosis.
During a spinal fusion procedure, the surgeon makes an incision and then places bone graft material, either from the patient’s own body or from a donor, between the remaining vertebrae. Metal plates, screws, or rods may also be used to hold the vertebrae in place while the bone graft material fuses them together over time.
The bone graft material used in a spinal fusion serves as a bridge for new bone growth, which eventually fuses the vertebrae together into a single, solid bone. This fusion process can take several months to a year or more, during which time the patient may need to wear a brace to support their spine and limit movement.
After the bone has fully fused, the patient may be able to resume normal activities. There will be a significant reduction in pain and other symptoms associated with the patient’s condition. However, spinal fusion is a major surgery that carries risks such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. There is also the potential of the fusion failing to take place. Patients should discuss the potential risks and benefits of spinal fusion with their surgeon before undergoing the procedure.
Spinal fusion helps to correct scoliosis and other types of spine conditions. In this surgery, surgeons permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine and eliminate motion between them. Also, spinal fusion surgery is a complex and intricate procedure. Hence, the length of the surgery varies from patient to patient.
There are two main types of spinal fusion surgeries.
1 – Posterior Fusion with Spinal Instrumentation:
Posterior fusion with spinal instrumentation is the most common surgery to correct spinal deformity. Here, the surgeon approaches the spine from the back or posterior portion. Upon the surgeon making an incision in the midline of the back, the surgeon will move the muscles to expose the spine.
To begin, the surgeon removes the joints of the affected areas as it helps to loosen up the spaces between the vertebrae. However, if the procedure involves a severe deformity, the doctor may cut the bone to allow realignment of the spine into a more normal position. This is referred to as an osteotomy.
Next, the surgeon roughens the vertebrae to produce faster healing. In this procedure, the body replaces old bone with new. Eventually, the new bone fills the space between the vertebrae and fuses them together. Additionally, the metal implants or instrumentation, including rods, screws, and hooks or wire made of titanium or cobalt chromium, are secured to the vertebrae. All these things help to straighten and support the spine while fusion takes place.
2 – Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a fusion procedure in which the surgeon approaches the spine through the front abdominal region (anterior) of the body. Here, the goal is similar to a posterior fusion — the merging of the lumbar vertebrae. However, it includes a step in which the doctor removes the damaged disc and replaces it with a spacer. Bone, metal, plastic, or a combination of these are used in making spacers.
When the surgeon finds the involvement of level L3-S1 or issues with multiple discs, they often prefer the anterior method. Also, the surgeon performs ALIF for different spine conditions, including degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, among others. In addition, it is essential to correct the spinal deformity as severe cases can lead to other major health problems.
During ALIF, the team will include a general or vascular surgeon. This surgeon will perform the anterior approach and assist during the surgery. By bringing in experts and specialists, we maximize safety for all vascular structures.
Lumbar Spine with Spinal Fusion Hardware.
Please note that it can take up to a year or more for fusion to take place. Also, the factors include age, overall health, adherence to physical therapy, lifestyle factors, and much more.
Why Choose Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Specialists
Orthopedics is a specialty of our doctors and surgeons at Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute. They understand your concerns, can answer your questions regarding your condition, and know how to use their specialized knowledge to assist you. Dr. Shyam Kishan, MD, and Dr. Kathryn Wiesman, MD, have many years of training and experience in Spine and Back Pain for kids, adolescents, young adults, and seniors and can help people of all ages get back to living the life they love.
The following are just a few of the many reasons why patients might choose Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute.
- Expertise in the spine: The team of specialists at Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute is comprised of spine experts. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions, ensuring the best possible care for their patients.
- Cutting-edge technology: Our practice uses the latest technology and techniques to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. In addition, we use minimally invasive procedures that reduce pain and promote faster recovery.
- Comprehensive care: Our practice offers a full range of services, from diagnostic imaging and physical therapy to surgery. We ensure that patients receive complete, seamless care for their spinal conditions.
- Dedicated facilities: Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute is dedicated to providing patients with a safe and comfortable environment.
Finally, our board-certified physicians and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons use the full range of treatments to treat their spine patients. Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute with offices in Dallas, Plano, and Frisco, Texas offers cutting-edge technology, comprehensive care, and dedicated facilities to ensure the best possible care for their patients. Get in touch with us today at (214) 556-0555 to schedule an appointment.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – Spinal Fusion:
WebMD – Spinal Fusion Surgery:
Healthline – Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF):
Cedars-Sinai – Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF):
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