Overview – Spinal Fusion
Spinal fusion is a surgical process to fuse or join two or more vertebrae in the lower back. It is a major surgery that usually lasts for several hours together. During the process, bone is taken from a bone bank or pelvic bone and used for making a bridge between vertebrae adjacent to each other. This procedure of bone grafting facilitates growth of new bone. Vertebrae are held together using metal implants until the growth of a new bone between them.
Why It Is Done
Spinal fusion is done alone or along with another surgery with an aim to remove bone and tissue that narrow spinal canal and squeeze spinal nerves or spinal cord causing sharp pain.
Doctors may also do it as a follow-up post a surgery conducted to treat certain conditions such as injuries, spinal stenosis, infection, herniated discs, and tumors. Spinal fusion was first used to treat fractures or other problems. The surgery is also used for treating age-related spinal conditions and spinal stenosis.
Recovery from back surgery takes time. It isn’t an overnight miracle. Maintaining a close connection with your doctor can help a lot. You need to talk freely about your experience and expectations. Most patients are able to resume most of the activities with the help of a right recovery plan.
After Spinal Fusion Surgery
The first step is to ask your doctor about a recovery plan specific to your condition following surgery. Most part of speedy recovery from surgery depends on following instructions of your doctor carefully. It also increases your chances of a successful result.
Recovering from pain and surgery is an ongoing process. The pace of recovery depends on the following factors:
- Type of surgery
- Patient’s commitment to working closely with their physical therapist
- Adherence to precautions
- Moving and exercising correctly
After surgery, your doctor will schedule regular office visits. This is to monitor your progress and know anything else requires being done to make you feel better.
Living after Surgery
The main focus post-surgery is on recovery. The patient will not feel spinal implant once they get healed and are back to usual activities.
Spinal implants are made of metal, such as stainless steel or titanium. Hence, they rarely cause issues with metal detectors. However, you may ask your spine surgeon to supply you a product identification card. This may be carried in your wallet to easily share your surgery information with others.
After surgery, you need to talk to your surgeon about various ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should also focus on exercising and eating a healthy diet. Most doctors offer helpful diet and exercise tips to their patients.
Following spinal fusion surgery, the patient usually wakes without any pain at all. It is common to feel some kind of operative pain, but not the deep, severe pain in the lower back that patient had experienced before.
The patient can leave the hospital in 3 days following surgery. Pain relievers can help manage post-operation discomfort. The surgery helps patients get rid of chronic pain. They can move normally and return back to normal activities.
After a spinal fusion, a patient should be aware that the areas above and below the fusion are more vulnerable. They need to be more careful than they would have in the past.
Most patients feel better after a surgery. They feel fine and even get back to doing things they love. It is important for patients to get follow the instructions of their doctor to stay healthy and pain free.