Spinal Fusion Surgery
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What is Spinal Fusion Surgery ?
The surgical procedure of spinal fusion (back fusion surgery) is performed to join one or more bony vertebrae of the spine permanently. This highly advanced procedure (disc fusion surgery) is an option for disability and pain in the spine which has been caused by some lesion and was not able to improve by other non surgical options such as medications or physiotherapy. Diseases, natural aging process and injuries are some of the causes for an unstable spine. These changes consents the abnormal movement of vertebrae and in turn the vertebrae starts to rub against each other. This can lead to either arm, back or leg pain. By fusing the vertebrae, it aligns and stabilizes the spine thereby maintaining the disc space in between the vertebrae. It saves from further damage of spinal cord and nerves.
Your doctor may recommend spinal fusion to treat the following spine problems:
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Types of Spinal Fusion Surgery
There are several types of spinal fusion surgery options. The most commonly employed surgical techniques include:
Cervical Spine Surgery
Your neck is part of a long flexible column, known as the spinal column or backbone, which extends through most of your body. The cervical spine (neck region) consists of seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae), which are separated from one another by intervertebral discs. These discs allow the spine to move freely and act as shock absorbers during activity.
Attached to the back of each vertebral body is an arch of bone that forms a continuous hollow longitudinal space, which runs the whole length of your back. This space, called the spinal canal, is the area through which the spinal cord and nerve bundles pass. The spinal cord is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and surrounded by three protective layers called the meninges (dura, arachnoid, and pia mater).
At each vertebral level, a pair of spinal nerves exit through small openings called foraminae (one to the left and one to the right). These nerves serve the muscles, skin and tissues of the body and thus provide sensation and movement to all parts of the body. The delicate spinal cord and nerves are further supported by strong muscles and ligaments that are attached to the vertebrae.
Nonsurgical treatment is the first approach in patients with common neck pain not involving trauma. For example, many patients with cervical disc herniations improve with conservative treatment and time and do not require surgery. Conservative treatment includes time, medication, brief bed rest, reduction of physical activity, and physical therapy. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the pain or inflammation and muscle relaxants to allow time for healing to occur. An injection of corticosteroids may be used to temporarily relieve pain.
You may be a candidate for surgery if:
There are several different surgical procedures which can be utilized, the choice of which is influenced by the severity of your case. In a small percentage of patients, spinal instability may require that spinal fusion be performed, a decision that is generally determined prior to surgery. Spinal fusion is an operation that creates a solid union between two or more vertebrae. Various devices (like screws or plates) may be used to enhance fusion and support unstable areas of the cervical spine. This procedure may assist in strengthening and stabilizing the spine and may thereby help to alleviate severe and chronic neck pain.
Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery
The disc is the soft cushioning structure located between the individual bones of the spine, called “vertebra.” It is made of cartilage-like tissue and consists of an outer portion, called the annulus, and an inner portion, called the nucleus. In most cases, the disc is flexible enough to allow the spine to bend. An artificial disc (also called a disc replacement, disc prosthesis or spine arthroplasty device) is a device that is implanted into the spine to imitate the functions of a normal disc (carry load and allow motion).
As a patient suffering from unremitting low back pain, if at least six months of aggressive conservative (nonsurgical) treatment has failed to help, and especially if the pain and other symptoms are making it difficult to complete everyday activities, then back surgery may be an option to bring about pain relief and restore one’s ability to function. For patients in this situation, this article provides an overview of the two types of back surgery now available: spinal fusion and artificial disc replacement (ADR, sometimes referred to as total disc replacement or TDR).
Scoliosis and Kyphosis Surgery
Spinal deformity is the condition in which there is a loss of spine’s alignment. The two types of deformities are Scoliosis and Kyphosis. Kyphosis is the result of the spine’s abnormal forward bending. While Scoliosis is the result of spine’s sideward bending. Most of the causes are not known in adolescents. Vertebral anomalies are the causes of spinal deformity that can occur due to some disease such as cerebral palsy, polio, marfans syndrome and neurofibromatosis. Vertebral anomalies can also happen by birth.
Treatment for Scoliosis and Kyphosis
Spinal Stenosis Surgery
The procedure of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is performed when the nerves (at lumbar vertebrae level) and the spinal cord compresses and also when the spinal canal narrow down. This condition can be the result of osteoporosis, tumor and herniation. Whereas Spinal stenosis have an effect on the thoracic region or on cervical. Abnormal sensations in the feet, legs, bowel control, buttocks or thighs and pain in the lower back are the results of Lumbar spinal stenosis.
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