Spine pain can seriously impede your ability to perform everyday activities and enjoy life. If you are suffering from spine pain and instability, the doctors at La Peer Health Systems’ Spine Center of Excellence may be able to help. Spine fusion is a procedure to fuse two or more vertebrae, thereby enabling the spine to heal from injury or deformity and reducing spine pain and discomfort. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about whether spine fusion is right for you.
Who Needs Spinal Fusion?
Our board-certified spine surgeons recommend spinal fusion for patients suffering from the following conditions:
- broken vertebrae
- spinal deformities including scoliosis
- spinal weakness, pain or instability
- herniated discs
- spinal stenosis
- pain associated with a spinal tumor
- persistent lower back pain.
Before prescribing spinal fusion, the doctors at the Spine Center of Excellence must be able to identify the specific source of your spine pain or injury. Diagnosing spine issues often requires imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans. If you’re concerned about persistent spine pain or instability, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation.
Spinal Fusion Surgery
You will be under general anesthesia during spinal fusion surgery and should not experience any discomfort. During the procedure, our spine surgery specialists will make an insertion right over the spine, on one side of the spine, or in the abdomen or throat to approach the spine from the front. They will then insert bone grafts from your own body or other bone-like materials into the spaces between the vertebrae. The doctors will secure the vertebrae using metal plates, screws or rods. Known as internal fixation, this process helps to keep the vertebrae from moving and enables you to heal faster.
Recovery from Spinal Fusion
After the procedure, you will need to remain in recovery for a short time. While some soreness or stiffness is common after spine fusion, over-the-counter pain medication offers very effective relief. Many patients require physical therapy to heal completely. Your spine surgeon may also instruct you to wear a brace. Typically, the fused vertebrae will start to heal in a few months.
Spinal fusion is regarded as a safe procedure, and most patients enjoy less pain and a greater range of motion after surgery. However, you should contact the Spine Center of Excellence immediately if you experience any of the following unlikely side effects: wound drainage, shaking or chills, high fevers.
Spinal Fusion FAQ
Q: What are the risks associated with spinal fusion?
A: Spine fusion is widely regarded as a safe procedure. However, rare complications include infection, blood clots, pain at the graft site and nerve damage. If you have concerns after spine fusion, don’t hesitate to contact the doctors at the Spine Center of Excellence at any time.
Q: Is using bone graft materials in spinal fusion as safe as using the patient’s own tissue?
A: In most cases, our doctors will use a bone from the patient’s own pelvis to fuse the vertebrae. However, new research suggests that other bone grafts are just as safe and effective for performing spine fusion.
Q: How long does it take to recover from spinal fusion?
A: Recovery time depends on a number of factors including patient age and activity level. However, for most people, recovering from surgery takes several months. Following your doctor’s orders for rehabilitation will help ensure a speedy recovery.
Q: Will I be able to walk immediately after surgery?
A: You will be able to walk after surgery, however our doctors may advise you to avoid more strenuous activities like running or lifting.
Q: What should I do if I’m experiencing spine or back pain?
A: Call the Spine Center of Excellence for a consultation. Our doctors may recommend imaging tests to determine the source of your pain.
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