Spinal Fusion Surgery
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 he 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 to this, it is essential to correct spinal deformity as severe cases can lead to other major health problems.
During ALIF, the team will include a general or vascular surgeon, who will perform the anterior approach and assist during the surgery. By bringing in exerts 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.