If you have severe back pain caused by a herniated disc that doesn't get better no matter what treatments you try, your doctor may recommend you have a spinal fusion. Spinal fusion surgery fuses two vertebrae in your back together to limit movement or strengthen the spine. Here's what you should know about this procedure.
Why It's Done
The goal of a spinal fusion is to support your spine. The surgery can be done for a number of reasons, such as to repair a back fracture or correct spinal weakness caused by arthritis. It's also done when a herniated disc is removed in order to keep your spine stable. If spine stability is not maintained, you can develop further back problems due to the stress and strain of misalignment.
How It's Done
This is a major surgical procedure that's done as an inpatient in a hospital. You'll probably stay in the hospital for a few days to recover. The surgery requires general anesthesia and it takes a few hours to complete. If you will supply your own bone graft, the surgeon will remove it from a healthy bone, such as your hip. He or she then uses the bone to fuse vertebrae in your back together. The bone will gradually fuse together, but to start with, the surgeon has to secure it in place with a metal plate and screws.
The Recovery Period
You may be sent home from the hospital with a back brace to help support your spine while it heals. You need to limit your activities, but you probably won't need bed rest. You'll be taught how to walk, sit, and sleep in a way that doesn't stress your spine. Plus, you'll be instructed on the proper way to exercise. You should stay active, so the muscles that support your spine stay fit. Gentle exercise such as swimming and walking may be recommended. It will take several months for your back to heal completely.
Spinal fusion from professionals like those at Highlands Neurosurgery, P.C. should put an end to your back pain once your painful herniated disc is removed. While you'll be able to eventually resume your normal activities after a spinal fusion, including most sports, you should continue to take good care of your spine. You want to maintain proper posture, so the fusion doesn't put too much stress on your other vertebrae and cause them to give you problems. Since the fused area of your spine is not flexible, it puts additional stress on the vertebrae above and below the surgical area. For that reason, it's important to follow your doctor's recommendations on caring for your spine once the surgery is over.Share
18 April 2015
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