Spinal fusion is the permanent surgical joining of two or more vertebrae to form a solid column of bone. It may be recommended to treat back pain due to deformities such as scoliosis, spinal weakness, and herniated disks that are not alleviated with conservative nonsurgical treatment.
Today, due to technological advances in spinal fusion surgery, the procedure can be safely performed on any part of the spinal column right from the cervical spine in the neck region to the lumbar spine in the lower back region. In fact, greater than 400,000 spinal fusions are performed every year with lumbar fusion being the most common type of spine fusion surgery.
During the spinal fusion procedure, your spine doctor will place a bone graft or bone-like material in between the damaged spinal vertebrae and insert metal rods, screws, or plates to hold the rigid structure in place during the healing process. Once fully healed, most patients can return to routine activities with marked relief in their back pain.
Of course, spine fusion surgery is not recommended for everyone. Back pain that has lasted less than six months might not warrant fusion surgery. Also, if multiple areas of the spine are affected, undergoing spine fusion surgery will cause significant loss of spinal mobility. Lastly, the presence of other comorbid conditions may rule out spinal fusion as a possible treatment option as it is a major surgical procedure.
However, if your chronic back pain has lasted longer than 6 months, is limited to a localized region of your spine, and you have tried other nonsurgical treatments such as pain medication, back braces, and physical therapy with limited pain relief, spinal fusion surgery may bring about a marked improvement in your quality of life.
Consult the spine specialists at NewportCare Medical Group for an in-depth evaluation of your back pain and a personalized treatment recommendation.
NewportCare Medical Group is a comprehensive specialty group located in Newport Beach, California specializing in advanced non-surgical and surgical treatments for a wide range of orthopedic conditions.