Spinal Fusion Surgery In India
Spinal fusion was formerly used primarily for conditions such as scoliosis and other spinal deformities. Today, although most people with chronic low back pain don’t need to undergo spinal fusion, it has become increasingly popular for treating low back pain. The number of spinal fusions for all causes in the United States has more than doubled since 1993. Spinal fusion has been used as a treatment for what’s called discogenic pain pain originating in the area of a particular disk and without involving leg pain (sciatica).
Spinal Fusion Is Used To Treat : –
- Injuries to spinal vertebrae
- Protrusion and degeneration of the cushioning disk between vertebrae (sometimes called slipped disk or herniated disk)
- Abnormal curvatures of the spine (such as scoliosis or kyphosis)
- Weak or unstable spine caused by infections or tumors
Cross-section of a normal spine (inset left) and cross-section of a protruding disk (inset right).
Spinal fusion eliminates motion between vertebral segments, which can be a significant source of pain in some patients. The surgery also stops the progress of spinal deformity, such as scoliosis.
Spinal fusion will take away some spinal flexibility. But most spinal fusions involve only small segments of the spine and thus do not limit motion very much.
More than 325,000 spinal fusions were performed in 2003. About 137,000 procedures involved the upper (cervical) spine. About 162,000 involved the lower (lumbar) spine.
How Does Fusion Work?
Spinal Fusion is almost always done by inserting a bone graft in between the vertebrae. This bone graft heals and grows to form a living connection between the fused vertebrae. Sometimes, additional pieces of hardware (plates, screws, cage apparatus) are used to reinforce the bone graft or to further strengthen the fusion over several vertebral levels. Bone grafts may be harvested from the patient or from a cadaver donor. New technology is exploring the possibility of using artificial bone as a graft substitute.
The actual procedure has many variations in design and practice. Some procedures are performed through an incision on the back, some through an incision on the front. Some procedures are full open surgeries, while others are done using a smaller and less traumatic incisions. Even if spinal fusion is your only option, make sure to research the best surgical approach for your individual needs.
Risks Of Spinal Fusion Surgery
Every surgery has the risk of complications. There is a risk of infection, spinal fluid leak or nerve damage during this procedure. There is a moderate risk of continuing pain and poor surgical results. There is a risk of bone graft rejection, especially if the graft comes from a cadaver donor. Of course, there is always the risk of the general anesthetic as well. Some patients wind up worse off after fusion. still in pain and further restricted in their movement. Failed back surgery syndrome is a very common occurrence in post operative fusion patients.
How Does A Spine Fusion Work?
During Spinal Fusion surgery, your doctor will attempt to stimulate bone growth between the vertebrae. Once new bone forms, the vertebrae will be linked together, and there should be no further movement between the fused segments.
As part of the process to perform spine fusion, your surgeon may recommend spinal instrumentation. This means that your surgeon will also place metal within your spine to hold the vertebral bones together. Spinal instrumentation exists in many different types. Your surgeon will recommend a particular type of instrumentation, depending on many factors including the underlying problem being treated, the age of the patient, the number of levels of the spine being fused, and other factors.
What Are The Problems With Spine Fusion Surgery?
There are several concerns with spine fusion surgery, but overall the procedure works very well for the vast majority of patients.
Among The Concerns Of Surgery in India : –
- The Segments Do Not Fuse : – One of the most difficult parts of spine fusion surgery, is that often it is hard to get the new bone to grow. There are ways to stimulate bone growth in spine fusion surgery, but like everything else there are potential drawbacks. The possibilities to stimulate bone growth include using extra bone from the pelvis (Autograft) to stimulate new bone growth, using bone chips from a donor (allograft), or using a manufactured bone substitute.
- The Vertebrae And Discs Next To The Spine Fusion Develop Problems : – This problem tends to develop years after the surgery. When the bad segments of spine are fused together, the segments next to the fusion have more forces applied. This so-called ‘Adjacent Level‘ degeneration can cause problems after successful spine fusion. This is one reason why spinal disc replacement is being developed.
What are the other risks of spine fusion surgery?
Other risks of spine fusion include blood loss and infection. The potential for one of these complications depends on the extent of the surgery being performed. You should discuss these possible problems with your doctor.