Low Backache, also called low back pain or Lumbago, is one of the commonest ailments seen amongst the general population. Low back pain may be caused by various reasons and the underlying causes can be complex. Spinal Fusion surgery is considered the treatment of choice for patients with conditions like Degenerative Disc Disease, Spondylolisthesis, deformities like kyphosis, scoliosis and other conditions which result in severe pain and inability to function.
Fusion is actually a surgically created solid bone bridge between two or more adjacent, usually freely mobile bones. A spinal fusion is a surgery that is done to link together two or more vertebrae. The procedure helps in creating stability between spinal vertebrae and restricts the motion between the vertebral segments.
The spine is made up of number of vertebral bones stacked one on top of the other. In between the vertebrae are discs which lend mobility to the spine and act as shock absorbers. On the back side, there are two small joints at each level - called facet joints. This type of structure allows one to bend and rotate in different directions.
Though there are many approaches to spinal fusion surgery, all the approaches involve disc removal and adding bone graft to an area of the spine to set up a biological response that causes the bone graft to grow thereby creating a solid bony bridge across the two vertebrae, and thus stopping the motion at that segment. By doing away with movement, previously painful segment is made pain free.
The spinal fusions can be done either at single or multiple levels of the spine.
Short Segmental Spinal Fusions are generally done at one or a few levels of the spine. They are performed to stabilize both acute and chronic spinal instabilities, ranging from fractures and disc extrusion to chronic instabilities like degenerative changes in the disc, ligament or cartilage.
Long fusions, performed across many levels can be done to correct deformities such as scoliosis or kyphosis.
The different types of spinal fusion procedures are:
“¢ Posterolateral Gutter Fusion
“¢ Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
“¢ Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
“¢ Anterior/ Posterior Spinal Fusion
These spinal fusion surgery procedure options are chosen on the basis of the underlying cause of the low back pain.
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