Spinal fusion is a surgery done to fuse two or more vertebrae. Fusing means two bones are permanently placed together so there is no longer movement between them. The term is technically similar to arthrodesis. Spinal fusion is usually done along with other surgical procedures of the spine.
Other terms for spinal fusion are spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis.
In procedure of spinal fusion, supplementary bone tissue like autograft or allograft is used to aid in fusion. Now, synthetic bone grafts are also used with promising results. The bone grafts or substitutes are used to stimulate and aid in fusion by working in conjunction with the body’s natural osteoblastic processes [New bone formation], this graft helps in creating a bony bridge across the vertebrae.
When Spinal Fusion Is Done?
The main aim of the spinal fusion is to block the movement to alleviate pain or to provide stability by fusing the vertebra. It is indicated in all the diseases where the motion of the vertebrae is contributory to pain occurrence or alleviation of the moement between two or more vertebrae may relieve the pai, Spinal fusion is may be indicated in following diseases.
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal disc herniation
- Spinal surgeries for spinal tumor
- Vertebral fracture
- Spinal Instability
Types of Spinal Fusion
There are two main types of lumbar spinal fusion, which may be used in conjunction with each other:
- Posterolateral fusion- The graft is placed between the transverse processes in the back of the spine.
- Interbody fusion occurs between the vertebra after removal of intervertebral disc.
Mostly, the fusion is augmented by a fixation device. The aim to use fixation device is to keep holding the bones in position till the fusion occurs.
The fusion process typically takes 6–12 months after surgery. Sometimes spinal fusion fails to occur and a resurgery may be required.
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