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What is Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion is medical procedure to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in the spine to improve stability, correct a deformity or reduce pain. The procedure involves techniques to mimic the normal healing process of broken bones. Bone or bonelike material is placed between two spinal vertabrae, assisted by metal plates, screws and rodes to hold vertabrae together.

This operation can be performed to address;

  • deformities of the spine
  • spinal weakness/instability
  • gap caused by removal of a herniated disk

What happens after the surgery?

Following the surgery, patients are provided with an exercise and rehabilitation plan by the physical therapist in order to regain muscle strength and joint motion. 

Risks of Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion is generally a safe procedure. But as with any surgery, spinal fusion carries the potential risk of complications.

Potential complications include:

  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine
  • Pain at the site from which the bone graft is taken

 

The aim of this article is to give you a general information about the surgical intervention in question. You need to make more research about possible complications and risks of this selected procedure in order to make an informed decision. Please note that complications occur more frequently with patients who are obese, smoke, and have a history or lung or other chronic underlying medical conditions.

 

Smokers are recognized to have a significantly higher risk of post operative wound healing problems with a subsequently higher potential of infection as well as operative and post operative bleeding. Patients should discontinue smoking for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Although it helps to stop smoking before and after surgery, this does not completely eliminate the increased risks resulting from long term smoking. Smoking also has a long term adverse effect on the skin and ageing process.

 

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