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Part of spine- Spinal fusion can be done at any location of spine
A complete health check up and diagnostic tests done before surgery ,it involves a series of blood tests , ECG , X ray and scans.Some medications like blood thinners need to be stopped atleast 2 weeks before surgery .It is important to quit smoking as it decreases blood circulation and hampers bone fusion .
Step 1-The patient is positioned and anaethesia given
Step2- Incision is made in skin and tissues are gently moved aside to create a path to spine Minimally invasive techniques have also been developed these allow fusions with small incisions .
The procedure may be done by different techniques depending on the best possible for the patient and expertise of the surgeon
In lumbar spinal fusion different techniques may be
Posterolateral fusion – in this technique the bone graft is placed in between the transverse process and the vertebra are then fixed in place .
Interbody fusion -In this technique entire intervertebral disc is removed and bone graft is placed in space between the vertebra, types of interbody fusion
Step 3- Bone grafting is done - For fusion to occur between two vertebra a bone graft is needed to serve as bridge, generally bone grafts are placed into the space between the vertebrae to be fused .Bone graft helps bone healing and also increases bone production.
The graft used may be
Step 4-Immobilization-The bone graft and vertebrae must be immobilized while the bone graft heals and fuses .The fusion area is immobilsed and held together with metal rods , screws or cages
Step 5-Incision is then closed , a brace may be prescribed to support the spine
You will be monitored in the hospital for 2-3 days , maybe required to wear a brace while you recover.You will feel some pain after surgery which will be controlled by medications
Bed rest is usually not needed .Rehabilitation may take time and may be several months before the bone is solid .
While the healing is ongoing the fused spine must be kept in proper posture. You will be instructed the correct manner to sit , stand and walk so as to not hamper the fusing process.
After 3-6 months after surgery , the bone graft should join the vertebra above and below to form one solid piece of bone that securely attaches to the spine creating permanent fusion , gradually improving your symptoms and also your activity level.
Diagnostic Tests for Spinal Fusion surgery
The cost to the patient depends on a variety of factors like