Arthrodesis using

Keywords: arthrodesis, back ache, back pain, back surgery, backache, cervical fusion, fusion, low back pain, lumbago, neck pain, overview of surgical procedure, spinal arthrodesis, spinal fusion, spine surgery, surgical treatment of disease
Description: Spinal fusion (arthrodesis) is a surgical procedure that joins, or fuses, two or more vertebrae. Spinal fusion is major surgery, usually lasting several hours. There are different methods of spinal fusion.

Spinal fusion is major surgery, usually lasting several hours. There are different methods of spinal fusion.

  • Bone is taken from the pelvic bone or from a bone bank. The bone is used to make a bridge between vertebrae that are next to each other. This bone graft helps new bone grow.
  • Metal implants are usually used to hold the vertebrae together until new bone grows between them.

Rehabilitation can take a long time. It includes walking, riding a stationary bike, swimming. and similar activities.

Spinal fusion may be done by itself or along with surgery to remove bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal and squeezing the spinal cord and/or the spinal nerves.

Spinal fusion was first used to treat fractures or other problems. It is now also used to treat age-related spinal problems and spinal stenosis .

But there is not a lot of research about how well it works for other spinal problems. In general, studies do not show a clear difference between spinal fusion and intense rehabilitation for treating chronic low back pain from degenerative changes in the spine. 1

As you decide about having spinal fusion, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks. The surgery costs a lot and has serious risks. Although this type of surgery is common, there is no guarantee it will work to relieve your pain.

The risks of this surgery depend on your age and overall health, what you're having the surgery for, and the type of procedure you have.

  • Pain at the bone graft site.
  • Failure of the fusion, breakage of metal implants, or both.
  • Blood clots that may also lead to pulmonary embolism .
  • Nerve injury.
  • Graft rejection.
  • Infection.

Because there are so many things to consider when spinal fusion is recommended, seek a second opinion before making a decision.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.

Chou R, et al. (2009). Interventional therapies, surgery and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain. An evidence-based clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society. Spine, 34(10): 1066-1077.

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