The bones of your adult spine consist of 26 moveable joints. When these bones rub together or slip out of place, it causes pain and instability. If your back pain isn’t relieved by other forms of treatment, your doctor may recommend spinal fusion. During this procedure, your doctor attaches two or more vertebrae together to permanently stop movement between them, which prevents pain at the joint level.
To obtain the most effective back pain treatment, you must first obtain an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your pain so you can receive the best treatment. Consult New Jersey’s top spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine for the best back pain diagnosis and treatment.
Spinal fusion surgery isn’t the first treatment option your spine physician usually recommends. You may want to consider it, however, if more conservative options — such as physical therapy, medications or spinal injections — don’t relieve your pain.
During an interbody fusion, your surgeon removes a damaged spinal disc. The location in your spine determines whether you need lumbar spinal fusion, cervical spinal fusion or sacroiliac fusion. Depending on the area that needs treatment, the spine expert chooses the procedure that provides the best way to access your spine. For example, the types of lumbar interbody fusion include:
The right procedure for you depends on the location of the discs that need removal. You doctor may combine spinal fusion with another spinal surgery, such as a discectomy.
One your NJ spine surgeon determines the best point of entry, the fusion surgery begins. Spinal fusion surgery involves using a type of bone material called a bone graft. A bone graft may be taken from your body, which is known as an autograft, or from a donor body, which is called an allograft. The steps of the procedure include:
The procedure usually takes three to four hours. The bone graft stimulates new bone to grow around the interbody device, which eventually leads to the two vertebrae healing together into one continuous bone.
At one time, spinal fusion was major surgery that involved a lengthy operation. Minimally invasive techniques have been developed that now allow your surgeon to use 3D technology and tiny instruments. A minimally invasive approach provides several advantages, such as:
The sacroiliac joint is the point where the base of your spine connects to your pelvis. As many as 30 percent of cases of low back pain come from this joint. Your doctor may recommend sacroiliac joint fusion surgery if you have instability or significant pain in your pelvis or lower back area. Minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion surgery stops excessive motion of the joint and reduces pain with a less extensive recovery process than traditional open surgery.
You may need to stay in the hospital for two or three days. You may experience some pain and discomfort, but it’s usually controlled with medication. Once released, contact your NJ spine center if you experience any signs of infections such as:
The fusion process takes time, and full recovery may take several months. You may need to wear a brace on a short-term basis. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to improve strength and range of motion and to teach you how to move in ways that keep your spine properly aligned.
There are many possible causes and treatment options for back problems. If you have persistent pain in your back or neck that affects one or two vertebrae that hasn’t been relieved with nonsurgical methods, you may be a candidate for spinal fusion.
The spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine are highly skilled in determining the cause of spine-related pain. They recommend the most effective form of treatment for you. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.