Spinal fusion can be used to relieve pain and correct a wide variety of issues with the spine. Essentially, fusion joins two vertebrae together to stabilize the spine and eliminate movement at that particular level.
Spinal fusion can treat pain and instability due to several conditions, including:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Spinal stenosis
- Arthritis of the spine
- Injury to or instability of the spine
General anesthesia is used to put the patient to sleep during the procedure. Depending on the cause or condition of back pain and based on the surgeon’s recommendations, an incision will be made either in the back or in the abdomen to access the spine.
In some cases, the lamina is removed to clear space for the nerve roots of the spine. The surgeon may also remove the vertebral disc or any other debris that is causing pressure on the nerves of the spine. Bone grafts taken from the patient or cadaver bone will be placed to fill the space between the vertebrae and stabilize the spine. Hardware like rods and screws may be used to further stabilize the spine, and then the surgeon will close the incision.
The bone graft will fuse with the existing bone to create a solid, stable portion of the spine with the intent of pain relief and prevention of future instability.