Spinal Fusion

Neck or back pain of any kind can be extremely debilitating, and can affect many different aspects of your life, including sleep, performing tasks at work, driving, and exercising, among others.

If a patient is exhibiting certain symptoms, one technique that can be utilized as an attempt to eliminate back pain is called spinal fusion, a procedure in which a surgeon permanently connects two or more vertebrae in your spine.

The purpose of connecting these vertebrae is to reduce movement between them, which can help to alleviate pain from conditions such as herniated discs, broken vertebrae, spinal deformities, and general weakness and instability. There are many causes that result in back pain, and many potential solutions to alleviate them. To find out if spinal fusion is the best minimally invasive choice to remedy your spinal discomfort, contact our Tampa Bay minimally invasive spine surgery doctors today.

How Spinal Fusion Surgery Works

In order to get the vertebrae to fuse, a spine surgeon may need to use a bone graft, which typically consists of small pieces of bone matter that are placed in between the vertebrae that are being fused. Bone grafts help promote bone production, and foster bone growth in the correct place.

Surgeons obtain bone grafts in different ways, either by taking bone from another part of the patient’s body (an autograft), typically the hip, or by using a synthetic substitute.

The surgeon may also fix the vertebrae together using rods, screws, plates, or cages, which help to keep the bone graft in place while the patient’s body is healing. After surgery, the body begins this healing process naturally, and new bone is formed that will connect the two vertebrae together. This typically will happen after about three to six months.

Risks

Spinal fusion is a common procedure and is generally considered very safe. However, undergoing surgery in general takes some recovery time, and it is something that any patient’s body needs to adjust to.

As with any surgery, there are complications that could occur, including infection, poor healing, blood clots, pain, or excessive bleeding. It is never 100% certain how someone’s body will react to any surgery, which is important to keep in mind when considering if this is the best option for the symptoms being experienced.

Recovery

Recovering from spinal fusion surgery is not an overnight process. It takes time, patience, and adequate attention in order for a patient’s recovery to go smoothly, and how fast an individual is able to recover depends at least in part in how closely they follow their doctor’s directions. Back pain will most likely not go away immediately, and it can be hard for surgeons to predict how much relief surgery will give their patients, as each case is different.

It is important to let pain be the guide as to how quickly you can get back into daily life activities, and patience is absolutely key. The good news is, most people find that spinal fusion is an effective and minimally invasive treatment for their back problems when they have been diagnosed correctly.

How to Get Help

If you are suffering from neck or back pain, it is important that you talk to an experienced doctor or surgeon who can examine you and give you an accurate diagnosis. There are many different treatments for neck and back pain, and spinal fusion surgery may or may not be the right option for you.

Getting treatment from a specialist who understands the complexities of diagnosing neck and back pain as well as developing a treatment plan is essential in putting you on the path back to good health.