Spinal fusion surgery is the spine surgery performed to combine and join two or more bones of the spine together, so that the movement in between them can be avoided. The bones in the spine are called vertebrae.
Need for the Surgery
Spinal fusion is a part of the surgical procedure that is done to treat many of the spinal related surgeries. It is usually needed to be performed after discectomy is performed at the neck and with spinal stenosis surgical procedure, like laminectomy or foraminotomy.
Spinal fusion is needed, when the patient has,
- Fractures or injuries happened to the spine bones
- Spinal stenosis or other arthritis in the spine
- Unstable or weak bone, resulted from the tumors or infections
- Spondylolisthesis, which is a condition of slipping one vertebra and moves forward and stacks on top of the other one
- Abnormal curvatures, for kyphosis or scoliosis
The patient is lied down with face down on the table. The patient is given general anesthesia, so that the patient sleeps and feels no pain during the surgery. A small surgical cut or incision is made in the spine. Prior to the spinal fusion, other surgical procedures, like foraminotomy, laminectomy or discectomy are performed, and then the surgical fusion is done later.
Tissues and muscles are moved to one side, so that the spine is better exposed. If the operation is done on the lower back, surgeon uses retractor tool to separate the blood vessels and soft tissues gently and hold them apart, so that there is enough room to work. A small bone graft is taken to fuse the bones permanently together.
Bone graft can be collected from various places.
- Bone graft can be taken from the body of the patient itself. The bone around the pelvic bone is usually considered to be taken. A bone graft taken in this way is called autograft. The bone graft is taken during the same surgical procedure. A small incision is made over the hip and a small bone would be taken from the rim’s back, from the pelis.
- Bone graft is also taken from another person, who is a donor. The bone graft taken in this way is called allograft.
- Apart from these two natural bone grafts, a synthetic bone graft is also considered for the surgery. It looks and function just like the normal and natural bone.
The fusing at this point of time can be done in many ways.
- Bone graft material is placed on the rare part of the spine in the form of strips
- Bone graft material to be placed in between the spinal bones or vertebrae
- Special cages are taken and kept in the between the bones or vertebrae. Usually, the special cages taken are packed together with the material of bone graft.
Apart from these processes, the vertebrae is also tied or fixed with each other, with the help of cages, plats, screws or rods. These are needed to make the vertebrae fixed from movement, till the complete healing of the bone graft.
- Breathing problems
- Loss of blood
- Blood clot happening in the legs, which may travel towards the lungs
- Infection at vertebral bones or infection at the site of wound
- Infection affecting to the kidney, bladder or lungs
- Wear away of the vertebrae present below or above the fusion, leading to other potential spinal problems
- Stroke or heart attack happening during the surgery
- Damage occurring to the spinal nerve, resulting to cause loss of sensation, weakness, pain and problems associated with the bladder and bowels
Cost of Spinal Fusion Surgery
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