Spinal Fusion Surgery: Are You A Good Candidate?
Spinal fusion surgery is a type of spine surgery that is undergone to prevent movement between vertebrae that are rubbing against each other and causing you pain. During the procedure, the vertebrae are fused together, eliminating any movement between them. Following the spinal fusion procedure, your pain should be permanently eliminated. While the Dr. Keenen, spinal surgeon at Pacific Spine Specialists, prefers minimally invasive treatment options prior to recommending surgery, spinal fusion surgery can lead to a long-term pain resolution for the right candidate.
The Approach to a Spinal Fusion Procedure
While there are a number of approaches your spine surgeon can take to provide relief, most spinal fusion procedures involve:
- Bone grafts applied to the affected area of the spine
- Setting up the right biological responses between the vertebrae to initiate and support the graft taking hold
- The actual spinal fusion to stop the movement in the painful joint
When is a Spinal Fusion Procedure Recommended?
Spinal fusion surgery comes highly recommended to treat people with:
- Lumbar Spondylolisthesis
- Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
- Unstable or weak spine
- Spinal fractures
Are You a Good Candidate for a Spinal Fusion Procedure?
Your physician will determine whether spinal fusion is right for you based on a number of factors that they will discuss with you. Ideally, the procedure works best when there are only two affected vertebrae requiring the graft, called a one-level fusion. With a one-level fusion, you may not notice any limitations in your movement following the procedure.
Spinal fusion on two levels may feel slightly restrictive, depending on the location of the afflicted vertebrae. Once you go beyond two levels, though, you’ll definitely notice a marked reduction in movement. Lack of movement often results in more pain, which is why the expert surgeon at Pacific Spine Specialists seldom perform the procedure on three or more levels. Typically, spinal fusion of three or more levels is reserved for those with the most severe spinal handicaps, such as extensive scoliosis or life-threatening deformities.
Spinal fusion works best on people who do not smoke, are not obese and live a relatively healthy lifestyle. As with any surgery, a positive attitude goes a long way. Additionally, you must be motivated to pursue the physical therapy that’s going to be required following your spinal fusion surgery. You’ll work with an experienced physical therapist whose goal it is to get you back to your regular daily functions as quickly as possible.
Learn More About Pacific Spine Surgical Options
If you are considering Spinal Fusion Surgery, when you choose Pacific Spine Specialists you stand a very good chance of being relieved of your back pain permanently. Spinal fusions almost always lead to pain-free living with little or no residual complications. Learn more about Dr. Keenen and request a free MRI review today.