Spinal fusion also called as spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis is a neurosurgical or orthopedic surgical technique used to join two or more vertebrae into one single structure. It is performed at any level of spine. The goal is to stop movement between the two bones and prevent back pain. Once they’re fused, they no longer move like they used to. This keeps you from stretching nearby nerves, ligaments and muscles that may have caused discomfort.
This surgery is done to relieve the pain and pressure on the spinal cord that results when a disc i.e. cartilage between two vertebrae is worn out.
Why You Need This Surgery:
If medicines, physical therapy, ayurvedic treatments and other treatments (like steroid injections) are not successful to cure your back pain, then this surgery will be best option. Doctors usually recommend spinal Fusion surgery only if they know exactly what’s causing the problem.
Spinal fusion helpful if back pain is caused by following reasons:
• Degenerative disk disease (the space between disks narrows; sometimes they rub together spaces)
• Fracture (broken spinal bone)
• Scoliosis — your spine curves abnormally to one side
• Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
• Spondylolisthesis (forward shifting of a spinal disk)
• Tumors or spine infection
Spinal fusion can be done one of two ways:
• Anterior lumbar interbody fusion approach : Doctor goes in through your belly.
• Posterior fusion approach : Doctor goes in from the back.
There are several types of spinal fusion surgery options. The most commonly performed surgical techniques are as follow:
• Posterolateral gutter fusion:
The procedure is done through the back.
• Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF):
The procedure is done from the back and includes removing the disc between two vertebrae and inserting bone into the space created between the two vertebral bodies.
• Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF):
The procedure is done from the front and includes removing the disc between two vertebrae and inserting bone into the space created between the two vertebral bodies.
• Anterior/posterior spinal fusion:
The procedure is done from the front and the back
• Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF):
Similar to the PLIF, this procedure is also done from the back of the spine
• Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF):
This is an inter-body fusion in which the approach is from the side.