Ramsay Health UK | 3/12/2021

Why Would You Need Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion is a type of back surgery that seeks to eliminate certain problems with the vertebrae. This could be because of degenerative disease, deformities, or other damage to the spine. We’re going to look at the reasons why spinal fusion surgery might be offered, and what the potential benefits and risks are.

What is spinal fusion surgery?

As the name suggests, spinal fusion surgery involves fusing two or more vertebrae (sections of the spine) permanently together. This is done in order to eliminate movement between the vertebrae with the aim of preventing back pain.

The fusion creates more support as well as stopping attached muscles and tendons from moving, and stopping friction between the problem vertebrae.

The fusion can be achieved by placing material that mimics bone between the sections of spine, causing them to naturally heal together into one unit. This might be helped with pins, screws, or metal plates to keep things in place.

Why might you need spinal fusion surgery?

The main reason for getting spinal fusion surgery is to reduce debilitating back pain. This pain can be because of all sorts of reasons, including:

- Scoliosis or other spinal deformities

- Degenerative disk disease or herniated disks

- Fractures and other injuries

- Spinal weakness or abnormal motion caused by severe arthritis or other conditions

Spinal fusion surgery is usually only considered if other treatments haven’t been effective to treat back pain. Medication, physiotherapy, and lifestyle changes will usually be tried first.

Life after spinal fusion surgery

Immediately after undergoing spinal fusion surgery, you’d likely have to stay in hospital for a few days. You may also need painkillers to manage any pain or discomfort. The healing process can take several months, and you may need extra support during this time such as a brace to keep your spine in position, or physiotherapy to help with mobility.

Spinal fusion surgery has the best results when it’s used to treat a conclusive diagnosis. If the cause of back pain isn’t entirely clear, the surgery may not be completely effective, or prevent back pain from coming back in the future.

For example, if the cause of the pain was arthritis, this is a degenerative disease that may cause further back problems after surgery.

Orthopaedic services at Ramsay

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain and are wondering about treatment options, you’ll find full orthopaedic diagnosis and treatment services at Ramsay hospitals, along with a team of caring specialists. If you’d like to discuss your options or make an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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