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.
SWSI Scoliosis Quiz to determine if Spinal Fusion Surgery is needed

Spine hardware in backSPINAL 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.

Next, the surgeon roughens the vertebrae to produce a reaction called remodeling, in which the body replaces old bone with new.  Eventually, the new bone fills the space between the vertebrae and fuses them together. Metal implants or instrumentation, including rods, screws, and hooks or wire made of titanium and/or cobalt-chromium, are secured to the vertebrae to help straighten and support the spine while fusion takes place.

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.

“Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis that we see in teenagers. The most common symptoms we see are curvature of the spine, unevenness of the shoulders, and unevenness of the hips. The treatment is based on the size of the curve. Research tells us that if your curve is 50 degrees or more, it will continue to progress throughout your lifetime. After surgery people can return to most physical activities 6 months after surgery.” Richard Hostin, MD

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.