Everything You Need to Know About Spinal Fusion Surgery
Spine fusion surgery is a technique of joining two or more vertebrae surgically. The spinal fusion surgery technique involves fusing two or more vertebrae that heal to form a solid single bone.The spine fusion surgery technique helps in relieving pain and painful movement. The surgery is recommended by the doctors when they find the source of pain based on symptoms presented by the patients and radiological investigations by the doctor.
During spinal surgery, the two or more vertebrae are permanently connected in the spine and the motion between them is eliminated. A bone-like material is placed within the space between two spinal vertebrae.
With the help of screws, metal plates the vertebrae are held and fused to form one single solid unit.
When is Spinal Fusion Surgery Necessary?
Spine fusion surgery is necessary and recommended when the movement of the spine causes pain. By preventing the movement of the spine, the pain is prevented. Firstly the noninvasive techniques like physiotherapy, medications, steroid injections are used to provide relief, but if the pain is not relieved, spine fusion surgery is indicated and recommended.
Spine fusion surgery is necessary for the following conditions –
1. Fracture in the spine
2. Infection in the spine area.
3. Spinal stenosis, which is new growth on the spine that causes compression of the spine.
4. Disc disease, which degenerates and weakens the spine.
5. Slip disc or spondylolisthesis ( a condition in which one disc slips and compresses the other disc)
6. Tumor of spine
7. Spinal weakness due to arthritis.
Symptom Indicating Pine Fusion Surgery
The most common symptom the patient presents is lower back pain that does not decrease or temporarily decrease with noninvasive and nonsurgical treatment like physiotherapy, medications.
Once the other causes of lower back pain are ruled out, your doctor could advise you of spine fusion surgery to relieve pain.
Spine Fusion Surgery Treatment Cost in India
Spine fusion surgery costs between $ 80,000 to $ 150,000 depending on the various factors that include the experience of the surgeon in the field, the location of the hospital, the facilities provided in a hospital, length of stay in the hospital. The cost of spine fusion treatment in India is typically lower than the other western countries like the U.S.The cost also depends on the investigations like CT scan, MRI scan, X Rays advised by your doctor based on the requirement.
Spine fusion surgery is like other surgical procedures. Your doctor would look up your symptoms, take your medical history, and would do your physical examination.
You would get various investigations done like X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans to identify and pinpoint the cause of the pain.
Your doctor would ask you to limit the alcohol intake, cut down the smoking completely for better and early healing.
You would be asked about the medications you are already taking for your other illnesses.
You would be asked about the drugs like delisprin or other blood thinners you are using.
Spine fusion surgery is done under general anesthesia. Fasting would be recommended by your doctor and you would be advised to take the medications you are taking regularly with water.
Procedure for Spine Fusion Surgery
The surgery is performed in general anesthesia. Your blood pressure and heart rate would be monitored by your doctor. The procedure is of a little longer duration.
A bone graft-like material is used to fuse the two or more vertebrae. Your bone could be used or bone from the bone bank is taken.
The incision is made and the bone graft is placed. After placing the bone graft, screws or plates are used to prevent the movement of the spine. This helps in early and quick healing of the spine thus quick recovery.
Post-procedure recovery depends on your overall health status, medical history, and the recovery shown.
Hospitalization is recommended for 4-5 days along with pain-relieving medications. Your doctor would recommend to you when to start the movement, how to start the movement initially.
You would be advised about resuming your daily activities and you cant resume them until fusion is and you won’t be able to take a solid diet for a few days.
Fusion takes more than a month and physiotherapy and physical therapy would be advised for strengthening the spine.
Total recovery might take more than 6 months depending on your overall health and associated medical condition. As soon as your vertebrae would be fused, you could resume your work and daily activities.
Recovery depends on how well is your physical health and how well you are following doctors’ advice and carrying your follow-up visits. You need to avoid bending, twisting, and going to the gym until complete healing of your spine took place that is for a minimum of six months.
The physiotherapist would make you learn the new methods of sitting, walking, and standing that you need to follow for a few months that would promote quick healing. Don’t miss your follow-up visits and follow the advice of your doctor and physiotherapist for a good and speedy recovery.
You would be advised to wear a brace to keep your spine in alignment correctly.
What is The Difference Between Lumbar Fusion And Cervical Fusion?
Lumbar fusion is the procedure recommended when there are disc changes ( degenerative ) in the spine that causes compression on the nerves of the spine thus causing severe back pain.
It is a treatment approach when only one vertebral segment is involved in the spine.
Cervical fusion is recommended to prevent the stress occurring on the cervical spine and to improve motion. In cervical fusion surgery, the selected bones in the neck region are joined. This surgery requires a shorter stay in the hospital and a cervical collar is provided during follow-up visits and recovery period.
Complications Associated With Spine Fusion Surgery
Once the surgery is completed, you need to keep a check on your overall health.
It is recommended to contact your doctor immediately if you feel infection, swelling, bleeding, chills, or high fever post-surgery.
In a few surgeries, the failure could be observed but the chances of failure are only 10 percent of surgeries.
In patients who smoke post-surgery healing is delayed or failure of spinal fusion could be observed.
Other risks or complications are the formations of a blood clot at the site of surgery, persistent pain at the site of surgery.
Consult your doctor immediately for better support and guidance.