There is a reason why the spine is known as the backbone of our body as it performs many key functions in our body. It transfers signals from different body parts to the brain that helps us perceive sensations like pain and others. This is why any injury or condition affecting the spine may result in loss of sensations along with other complications.
In serious issues related to the spine, surgery is often required for the treatment. If we talk about one of the commonest surgical procedures, then spinal fusion is at the top. In this post, we will discuss spinal fusion in detail along with its procedure and the conditions in which it is recommended. Let us see what spinal fusion is before moving ahead.
Spinal Fusion – An Overview
Spinal fusion is an orthopedic surgical procedure that is performed to treat various conditions that affect the spine and cause several complications. During this procedure, two or more vertebrae are fused permanently, and hence, no movement will be there in that region. This surgical technique involves the use of bone graft along with Orthopaedic Implants. Depending upon the location and the technique used, spinal fusion can be called as:
- Anterior spinal fusion
- Posterior spinal fusion
- Vertebral interbody fusion
Why is Spinal Fusion Done?
Spinal fusion is done to provide stability to the spine, improve painful symptoms, and/or correct a deformity. All these symptoms are noticed in certain issues related to the spine, and that is where spinal fusion is recommended. Those conditions include:
Scoliosis is one of the conditions in which the curvature of the spine becomes abnormal. In such cases, spinal fusion may help correct the deformity.
Spinal instability may occur in people with abnormal or excessive motion between two vertebrae. People with severe arthritis are highly prone to spinal instability and fusion of the vertebrae can fix this condition.
Herniated disc is a condition in which the outer layer of the vertebral disc cracks and its inner material comes out. This causes compression of the nerves and the spinal cord. When other treatment methods fail, spinal fusion remains the last and best option for the treatment.
How Is It Performed?
Spinal fusion is performed under general anesthesia where the patient remains asleep during the whole procedure. After doing all the necessary checks after giving anesthesia, the surgeon will prepare the bone graft that is required to fuse vertebrae. The graft can either be obtained from the patient itself or a donor. If the graft is required to be taken from the patient, then the pelvic region is preferred. Sometimes a synthetic bone graft is also used.
Now, an incision will be made over the area when fusion is required to access the vertebrae. After this, the surgeon will place the graft between the space to fuse vertebrae. Special cages are used to place the graft and hold it into a specific position. After the bone graft is placed, the surgeon will use implants like orthopedic implants plates, metal screws, pins, and wires to stabilize the vertebrae and prevent them from displacement. This stage of spinal fusion is known as internal fixation.
At last, the incision is closed, and the patient is guided on what to do and what not to do.
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