When the motion between small bones of the spine (vertebrae) causes pain, sometimes a spinal fusion is the recommended course of treatment. A variety of imaging techniques – MRI scans, CT scans and X-rays – are used to pinpoint and diagnose the source of pain.
Spinal fusion is designed to eliminate the motion between vertebrae by permanently fusing two bones together, thus minimizing or erasing the source of pain. Other surgical procedures of the spine are often performed with spinal fusion. Bone grafting material may be used in the fusion process and the surgery can be approached in several ways.
- Patients who undergo spinal fusion surgery may remain in the hospital for several days following the procedure.
- Patients usually begin a regimen of rehabilitation physical therapy including how to move properly, reposition, sit, stand and walk.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Patients should carefully discuss their individual medical conditions with their physician before undergoing any spinal surgery.