While spinal fusion surgery shouldn’t be the first treatment option for your spinal problems, it may be the one that finally provides relief from your specific back condition. When deciding if spinal fusion surgery — a procedure that permanently connects two or more vertebrae together — is right for you, there are two major considerations: an accurate diagnosis and the severity of your condition.
The highly skilled orthopedic surgeons at South Texas Spinal Clinic, with 12 locations in the area, share this list with our current and prospective patients who are considering spinal fusion surgery. Here are the top five health conditions that will benefit from spinal fusion surgery.
If you suffer from a spinal deformity that has caused pain and discomfort over the years, and hasn’t responded to physical therapies or other less-invasive procedures, spinal fusion surgery can help correct the deformity. Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine that may respond well to spinal fusion surgery. And, kyphosis is a deformity of the upper spine that causes abnormal rounding that may also benefit from a spinal fusion.
If you have spondylolisthesis, it means that one of your vertebra has slipped forward out of alignment onto the vertebra below it. This can cause severe back pain or nerve compression that leads to pain and numbness in your leg. Spinal fusion surgery may be the treatment option that helps restore function and relieves pain and numbness, or prevents further damage to the vertebrae and nerves.
In some cases, a spinal fracture heals itself, but in other situations, a broken vertebra can make your spinal column unstable. Spinal fusion surgery to fuse the broken vertebra with one that’s not fractured can relieve pain and restore stability.
Spinal fusion surgery can greatly relieve back pain that comes from degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease typically affects the vertebrae in your neck or lower lumbar spine and causes chronic pain, especially after you’ve been sitting or standing for a long time. It occurs when the discs — the spongy shock absorbers between each vertebra — dry out as a result of age, or become torn during an activity that puts stress on the disc.
We’re all born with super shock-absorbing discs in our spine that contain about 80% water. But, as part of the normal aging process, these discs dry out and no longer absorb the shock of normal movements as well. Typically, by the time you reach age 60, you most likely have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Not everyone experiences debilitating back pain from degeneration in the spine, but if you’re among those who deal with chronic neck or low back pain each day, spinal fusion surgery can improve your quality of life.
Like degenerative disc disease, there’s no cure for spinal stenosis — one of the most common age-related back problems that often results after years of osteoarthritis of the spine. If you have osteoarthritis in your spine, your ligaments become thicker over time, your discs deteriorate, and your spinal canal narrows. A narrower spinal canal means pressure on the nerves that travel through your spine and into your legs. Often, people with spinal stenosis don’t have back pain, but instead experience debilitating pain in their buttocks and legs.
If you suffer from back pain, an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause is essential to determining whether spinal fusion surgery can help improve your condition. For the most highly skilled, board-certified team of spine specialists in South Texas, call the South Texas Spinal Clinic location that’s most convenient for you, or book online. We provide individualized, compassionate orthopedic care and state-of-the-art treatment options.