Spinal injury is a serious problem with nearly 12,000 reported cases per year. Spinal injury can occur from car collisions and occupational accidents, or stem from something as small as a slip and fall. In many cases, it is common for a spinal injury patient to experience back pain while moving or stretching his or her back. If back pain is a consistent problem, spinal fusion surgery may be a solution.
What is Spinal Fusion?
Spinal fusion is a medical procedure that fuses two or more vertebrae in a patient’s back together to make one solid bone. The idea behind the procedure is simple, if the vertebrae do not move independently of one another, then the nerves and muscles that surround the vertebrae will no longer be in pain due to movement. When the vertebrae are fused together, the patient will have some movement restrictions. In many cases, the reduced movement is a small price to pay for the reduction in pain.
How Do Vertebrae Fuse Together?
There is more than one way to fuse vertebrae together, but the process is essentially the same for each method. First the surgeon identifies some bone to use in a bone graft, this can be a graft from your pelvis, a donation from a bone bank, or an artificial graft. Second, your surgeon will place the bone graft on the segment of your spine that needs to be fused together or between the vertebrae depending on how your surgeon chooses to approach the surgery. Finally, the surgeon secures the segment of your spine in place using screws, rods, or plates that will ensure that the vertebrae do not move until your spine has healed.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Spinal Fusion Surgery?
Spinal fusion surgery is minimally invasive and can relieve the symptoms of fractures, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, infection, degenerative disk disease, and other back conditions. However spinal fusion surgery, like any other surgery, has certain risks involved.
The risks that are involved with spinal fusion surgery are infection, pain at the site of surgery, recurring symptoms, blood clots, and nerve damage. On the other hand, the risks associated with spinal fusion surgery are rare.
Spinal injury can be a source of much pain and suffering. If you have persistent back pain, spinal fusion surgery might be a viable solution. Consult with your doctor for more information regarding spinal fusion surgery if you think the operation could be beneficial to you.