While it’s rarely a first choice, spinal fusion may be necessary to help stabilize your spine in conjunction with certain back surgeries. Board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatric and adult neurosurgery, Ali Raja, MD, FAANS, FACS, of Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas, specializes in top-level microsurgery procedures such as spinal fusion. He’s also committed to a personalized treatment approach that meets your needs and circumstances, including the most conservative surgical procedures available to maintain spinal integrity. Schedule an evaluation today by calling the office or booking your visit online.
Spinal fusion is a type of back surgery that permanently fuses (connects) two or more vertebrae in your spine. This prevents the vertebrae from moving against one another. Excessive vertebral motion can have a significant and painful impact on surrounding nerves, ligaments, and muscles.
Although it may sound extreme, spinal fusion sometimes offers the best solution for avoiding ongoing spine damage that can eventually interfere with your mobility and ability to function without pain.
Advances in technology and surgical techniques provide much-improved results compared with those expected from spinal fusion in the past.
Minimally invasive spinal fusion, for instance, is accomplished via small, button-size incisions and causes much less trauma to muscles and other surrounding tissue structures than traditional or open spine surgery. This typically speeds healing following surgery.
Dr. Raja also utilizes a range of advanced technologies such as a surgical microscope and computer-assisted neuronavigation to increase precision during intricate spinal procedures.
Dr. Raja may recommend spinal fusion for a variety of reasons, including:
Although spinal fusion does decrease mobility slightly, it’s generally not enough to limit most activities. Dr. Raja does not recommend spinal fusion or any back surgery unless he expects the potential benefits to outweigh the negatives.
Spinal fusion is performed in conjunction with other procedures such as discectomy and takes place in a hospital setting under general anesthesia.
Once he removes the disc or other targeted structures, Dr. Raja fills the gap with a bone graft that’s typically attached with small screws or metal plates. This keeps the graft in place as it bonds with existing bone, and a solid union eventually forms between the two vertebrae.
Most patients stay in the hospital for a couple of days. You’re encouraged to remain active to help speed healing but typically must follow lifting restrictions and other modifications for several weeks. Most individuals return to full activity within 4-6 weeks of the surgery.
For more information about spinal fusion or any of the services offered at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas, schedule a visit with Dr. Raja today. Call the office or request an appointment online.