Back and Neck Surgery (Spinal Fusion)
Underlying Problem Requiring Back and Neck Surgery:
Spinal fusion is generally utilized to treat back and neck pain. This type of back and neck surgery is most often performed on the lumbar region of the spine and is least often needed in the thoracic region.
It is done to prevent motion that may be causing pain due to:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Posterior Rami Syndrome
- Spinal tumors
- Vertebral fractures
- Other causes of spine instability
For the lumbar region, there are two main types of spinal fusion that may be used separately or together. Interbody fusion is a type of back and neck surgery in which a bone graft is added between vertebrae. Normally, a disc would fill this space to act as sort of a .shock absorber. in the spine.
When the disc is damaged, whether through injury or disease, it can cause great pain.
Spinal fusion is performed to stabilize the area and limit the movement that would cause pain. With interbody fusion, synthetic materials may actually be implanted to replace a disc altogether. Posterolateral fusion also adds a bone graft, but it is placed between the transverse processes. Screws and wires are then used to affix the vertebrae to metal rods run down each side of the spine.
Recovery from Back and Neck Surgery:
Back and neck surgery is obviously a precise matter, and this can be reflected in the recovery time. The type of surgery will also affect the amount of time before patients can get back to daily activities. With some approaches, such as a posterior lumbar interbody fusion, it is possible for a patient to be back on his or her feet in just a few days. Other types of incisions require the cutting of quite a bit of tissues, and the recovery time reflects this added need for healing.
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