Introduction:In the truest sense, spinal fusion is exactly what it sounds like an operation in which two or more vertebrae are permanently joined. Anyhow, according to research to improve the techniques and tools used for the procedure, there is more you should know about spinal fusion surgery.
A decade ago, fusions today included far less trauma to patients. A conventional open fusion involves a bigger incision in the back to expose the spine, then cutting across and retracting the thick spinal muscles. For minimally invasive fusions, the surgeon needs only a small incision (1 to 2 inches) and maneuvers individual instruments between the muscles, pushing them aside and saving them, to reach the spine.
Spinal transplants are then placed with specialized skills through this small incision. Microscopes allow the physician to view the portion with magnification, permitting for more surgical precision. Studies have shown that following minimally invasive fusion; patients experience less blood loss, less post-operative pain, reduced chances of infection, shorter hospital stays, and a faster healing; several can leave the hospital the day following the procedure, compared to up to a week of hospitalization for conventional surgery.
If you are involved in the development of many minimally invasive methods that are increasingly used today for spinal fusion surgery, including a lateral attitude that involves accessing the spine across an incision in the side of a body to avert any disruption of the back muscles.
In fact, for spinal fusions involving only one or two levels (each vertebra represents a level of the spine), which comprise roughly 80% of all fusions performed, several patients can resume their normal lives, including playing recreational sports.
Surgery is almost always considered only following a conservative approach - physical therapy, spinal injections, and medications - fails to alleviate indications.
If I ever, suggested having spinal fusion surgery without first trying non-surgical options. Anyhow, if conservative measures are not working, you should not stick with them indefinitely. There are no benefits to going through months or even years of injections if you are still undergoing back or neck pain or numbness or tingling in your legs.
An NIH-funded research conducted at Rush and 10 other sites nationwide showed that patients tolerating from degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis who undergone spinal fusion surgery experienced substantially more pain relief and advancement in function over 4 years than patients who were treated non-surgically. Fusion has also proven to be a highly effective treatment for spinal instability or damage.
Once a fusion recovery, the levels that have been fused should not lead to further pain or need further treatment down the road. Anyhow, they caution that if the underlying problem is arthritis, other levels of the spine can be affected and wear out over time.
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