Spinal Fusion Surgery

What is it? A spinal fusion is simply the uniting of two bony segments, whether a fracture or a vertebral joint. The reason for instrumentation with rods and screws is to act as and 'internal cast' to stabilize the vertebra until the fusion, or bony re-growth, can occur. Why is it done? Historically spinal fusions have been used to correct degenerative spondylolisthesis. However, there are many indications for a spinal fusion and it is not the only procedure preformed to treat those various conditions. You should talk to your doctor about what procedure is best for you. The Operation Incision The patient is positioned on the operating table in a prone position. The incision is made over the anatomic position of the spinous process. Bone is Removed When indicated, soft tissue and bony decompression are performed to relieve neurological compression. Screw Placement For a degenerative spondylolisthesis case, a blunt probe is inserted through the pedicle and into the vertebral body. Once the pedicle canals are prepared and the screw length determined, the screws are sequentially inserted. Bone Graft The facet joint capsules are removed and cancellous bone graft is placed into each facet joint. The transverse processes, sacral alae, and the lateral walls of the facet joints are decorticated with high-speed burs and curettes. Corticocancellous bone graft taken from the iliac crest, along with any fragments of bone taken during decompression are firmly pressed into the bone fusion bed. Compression Once the construct has been assembled, segmental distraction and compression may be carved out.

Tightening Then a final tightening is performed. Closing the Incision The incision is closed in the traditional fashion.

Click here to find a doctor near you. It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of spinal surgery with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician's judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment. The materials on this Web site are for your general educational information only. Information you read on this Web site cannot replace the relationship that you have with your health care professional. We do not practice medicine or provide medical services or advice as a part of this Web site. You should always talk to your health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful