Spinal fusion surgery
Spinal fusion is a complex surgery and it requires true expertise for excellent results.
You'll find just that expertise at Twin Cities Spine Center. Our spine surgeons are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their field. As a result, we are a major referral center for spinal fusions and other spine surgeries.
We also received the highest ratings for the results of spinal fusion surgery according to outcomes data collected and published by Minnesota Community Measures. Our patients had the most improvement in pain, mobility and function at one year post surgery.
Here’s something else you should know: You'll be in exceptionally safe hands with our surgeons. Serious complications from spinal fusions are exceedingly rare here.
Reasons for spinal fusion
Spinal fusion surgery is a welding process. It fuses together two or more vertebrae—or bones in the spine—eliminating motion between them. Spinal fusion can ease the pain and other symptoms of many back and neck problems. Among them:
- Broken vertebrae.
- Deformities of the spine. These include scoliosis, an S-shaped curvature of the spine, and kyphosis, an abnormally rounded back.
- A weak or unstable spine brought on by an infection or tumor.
- Spondylolisthesis, or a hairline fracture in which vertebrae slip forward on top of each other.
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal typically caused by arthritis.
- A herniated disc that puts painful pressure on a spinal nerve.
Our surgeons perform both lumbar fusions to join vertebrae in the lower back and cervical fusions to join vertebrae in the neck. And they often combine spinal fusions with other spine surgeries, such as spinal decompression or discectomy surgery to repair a herniated disc.
Depending on the specifics of each patient, as well as the individual expertise and preferences of each of our surgeons, a fusion surgery may be recommended via a traditional surgical approach or through a minimally invasive surgical approach.
Back and neck fusion surgery: What to expect
There are different approaches to spinal fusion surgery and our surgeons will carefully help you decide on the best one for you. All of the approaches use some type of bone or bone substitutes—called a bone graft—to hold bones together permanently.
Your bones may also be held together with hardware—such as plates, screws and rods—to keep your spine still and help you heal.
Spinal fusion recovery
It may take several months for your bone graft to solidly fuse your vertebrae together. During this healing time, you'll need to keep your spine properly aligned.
Before you leave the hospital, you’ll learn how to move, sit, stand and walk in a safe way. Your surgeon might suggest that you wear a brace for a time to keep your spine correctly aligned, as well as attend physical therapy to help you recover.
Right after the surgery, your surgeon may advise only light activity, like walking. Gradually, you'll be able to return to regular activities.