What is Spinal Fusion?
The spine is comprised of a series of bones called vertebrae, and each vertebra is connected to the next with a strong connective tissue that serves as a cushion for the spine.
Spinal fusion is a surgical technique during which one or more of the vertebra of the spine are joined together, or fused, disallowing motion between them. This fusion of the vertebrae procedure is performed by placing bone grafts around the spine, causing two vertebral bodies to grow together into one long bone.
The bone for the graft may be taken from the patient (autograft) or from a bone bank (allograft). Grafts are placed either from the back of the spine (the posterior approach), from the front of the spine (anterior approach), or by a combination of the two. Spinal fusion may or may not involve the use of plates, screws and cages.
When Is Disc of Vertebrae Fusion Needed?
Conditions such as a fractured or broken vertebra, spinal curves or slippage and some cervical disc herniations are possible reasons for spinal fusion. Although not all spinal fractures require surgery, some fractures, such as those associated with a spinal cord or nerve injury, will require fusion. Additionally, spinal deformities such as scoliosis are commonly treated with spinal fusion
Instability, or abnormal or excessive motion between two or more vertebrae is believed to be a source of back and/or neck pain, but because it is difficult to determine the exact source of pain, treating back or neck pain with spinal fusion alone may not be recommended.
Dr. Siddiqi will review your symptoms and previous medical history in full detail with you, as well as perform diagnostic evaluations, before recommending spinal fusion.
How Long Will It Take To Recover from Spine Fusion?
Recovery from minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery usually requires a short hospital stay.
After surgery, patients will use a pain control pump while still in the hospital to help manage post-surgery pain. The patient simply presses a button to deliver a predetermined amount of narcotic pain medication through an IV.
Post-surgery pain treatment options include oral medications and intravenous injections. Dr. Siddiqi may require that you wear a brace during the early days of your postoperative period.
Although fusion can be a very good treatment for some spinal conditions, it does eliminate movement between the fused vertebrae, which can contribute to added strain on the vertebra that are above and below the fusion.
Minimally invasive spinal fusions performed by Dr. Siddiqi include:
- Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) back surgery
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) surgery
- Posterolateral Percutaneous & Mini-Open lumbar fusion surgery
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF)
- Posterior Cervical Fusions
If Dr. Siddiqi determines you are not a candidate for spinal fusion surgery, he will recommend other treatments options that may or may not involve surgical procedures.