Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure which fuses injured or damaged bones in the spine, known as vertebrae, together to prevent pain-triggering movement between the bones. During a spinal fusion procedure, an incision is made over the affected area of the spine, and the muscles and soft tissues are gently pushed away to give your surgeon optimal access to the spine.
A titanium cage is then placed between the vertebrae and metal hardware (plates, screws or rods) are implanted into the spine to provide stability. Over the next several months, the titanium cage fuses the bones in your spine together and halts further stretching or damage to the surrounding nerves and muscles.
Spinal fusion can provide pain relief for a number of spine conditions after conservative pain treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, or spinal injections have not had a significant impact on your pain. Conditions such as degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, spinal deformities and spinal fractures can all potentially be treated with spinal fusion with a doctor’s evaluation of an individual patient’s case.
While spinal fusion procedures have been well-researched and proven successful, they should only be considered when medically necessary to relieve chronic, debilitating pain and symptoms.
If you have been unable to find lasting relief from your unique pain or condition through more conservative measures, it may be time to consider spinal fusion as a treatment option.
In many cases, spinal fusion surgeries are performed alongside various procedures which remove discs or portions of the spine, such as discectomy, laminectomy or foraminotomy, however, the course of treatment and choice of procedures is dependent on each patient’s specific needs.
Most spinal fusion procedures require a short hospital stay to reduce risk of complications and to ensure the healing process has begun. During the recovery period, patients may be prescribed pain medication relieve discomfort, require a brace to help with spine alignment, referred to a physical therapist to restore mobility, and be ordered to avoid strenuous physical activity.
To learn more about spinal fusion or other treatment options that may be right for you, contact Dr. Bruggeman to evaluate if your condition and medical history.
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