When you experience chronic back and leg pain due to a problem in your spine, a surgical procedure called spinal fusion may provide the relief you need. For spinal surgery, you want an experienced surgeon who specializes in the spine, which is the quality of medical care available from the orthopedic surgeons at South Texas Spinal Clinic. If you have questions or need help with back pain, call their office in the San Antonio or South Texas area or book an appointment online.
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more of the vertebrae are joined together. The goal is to eliminate pain caused by movement of the vertebrae. Fusion takes away some of your spine’s flexibility, but most fusions affect only two vertebrae.
Your doctor at South Texas Spinal Clinic may recommend a spinal fusion to relieve pain caused by back conditions such as:
During the procedure, your surgeon from South Texas Spinal Clinic removes the disc between the vertebrae, then places a bone graft in that space. The graft may come from a bone bank, which supplies biocompatible bone that your body won’t reject, or a small piece of bone may be taken from your pelvis and used for the graft.
The bone graft stimulates healing, increasing bone production that helps the vertebrae fuse into one solid bone. In some cases, a large piece of bone is used to add structural support. After the graft, that portion of your spine is immobilized with rods, plates, wire, or screws to keep the spine steady while the bones fuse and heal.
Spinal fusion is performed using several approaches:
It takes about three months for the bone to grow and fuse. During this time, you’ll need to avoid activities that may interfere with healing, such as bending, twisting, and lifting anything over 10-15 pounds. Your doctor may prescribe a back brace to keep the spine immobilized for six weeks to three months following your surgery.