Spinal fusion is a type of spine surgery that is often performed on the neck and lower back. The goal of this procedure is to join two or more vertebrae together using bone grafts.
Spinal fusion is used to treat a variety of conditions including, spinal fractures, infections, tumors, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, kyphosis, arthritis and spinal stenosis.
During the operation, an incision is made in the neck, back or abdomen. Unnecessary bone and debris are cleared from the spine. The surgeon will then take the proper steps to correct the patient’s specific problem. Bone grafts are then placed against the vertebrae. The bone grafts may come from a cadaver, the patient’s own hip bone, or they may be created artificially. Any necessary hardware, which may include pins and screws, are then placed in the spine. The incision is closed and sewn together to finalize the surgery.
The grafts will grow into solid bone, fusing together the vertebrae. Patients may have to wear a back brace post-surgery. The back brace will keep the vertebrae from moving so the grafts may fuse together accurately.