SPINAL FUSION SURGERY
Spinal fusion is most often used to correct scoliosis and other types of spine conditions by permanently
connecting two or more vertebrae in your spine, eliminating motion between them. Spinal fusion surgery is a complex and intricate procedure; hence, the length of the surgery will vary by 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, with the surgeon approaching the spine from the back, or posterior. After an incision is made in the midline of the back, the muscles are moved to expose the spine. The joints of the affected areas are removed to loosen up the spaces between the vertebrae. In cases of severe deformity, the bone may be cut to allow realignment of the spine into a more normal position. This is called an osteotomy.
2 – ANTERIOR LUMBAR INTERBODY FUSION
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. The goal is similar to a posterior fusion — the merging of the lumbar vertebrae — but includes a step in which the damaged intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a spacer made of bone, metal, plastic, or a combination of these. Surgeons often favor the anterior approach when multiple discs are affected and when levels L3-S1 are involved. ALIF is often performed for a variety of spine conditions, including degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, among others. It can be very powerful to correct spinal deformity and can lead to an increased chance of fusion.
During ALIF, the team will include a general or vascular surgeon, who will perform the anterior approach and assist during the surgery to 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. Factors include age, overall health, adherence to physical therapy, lifestyle factors to name a few.
If you or your loved one is suffering from scoliosis, there is hope. We can help. Call Southwest Scoliosis Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment.