Lateral fusion (spondylodesis) is a minimally invasive spinal surgery that fuses two or more of the patient’s vertebrae. The surgery is performed in order to relieve the painful pressure caused when a disc – the cartilage between two vertebrae – is worn out. The most common condition treated with lateral fusion surgery is degenerative disc disease, which is in fact not a degenerative disease but a consequence of injuries or natural wear and tear. Other injuries commonly corrected through lateral fusion include spinal stenosis, herniation, scoliosis, and spondylosis. If you’ve been living with pain caused by a spinal injury near Grapevine, Texas, contact 360 Back and Spine Center for a consultation with the area’s leading minimally invasive spine surgeon.
Lateral spinal fusion stabilizes and relieves pressure on the spine, offering profound results with minimal pain or recovery time. There are many variations of the procedure, but all essentially consist of two or more vertebrae being realigned with a disc implant and often a bone graft. Fusing the vertebrae around a collapsed disc will hold them in a more normal position, relieving pressure not only at the site of the operation but often throughout the patient’s entire body.
Spinal fusion procedures used to require significant recovery time and were often very expensive, but minimally invasive techniques that use highly advanced computer guidance and smaller incisions have significantly reduced the risk of complications, recovery time, and cost. Spinal fusion surgery can be performed on cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae; while the concept behind each is similar, every procedure will differ considerably. The best candidates have a healthy body mass index and no pre-existing nerve problems; however, a consultation with a surgeon is required to determine whether or not a patient is eligible.
Typically, patients lay on a table on their side, and are taped into place to prevent any accidental movement. The damaged disc is entirely removed, and an artificial one is implanted in its place. Small rods are then screwed into the back of the spine, which stabilize the area as it heals. Some patients require additional bone grafts that help the bones to heal. Following the procedure, the bones will fuse together and rest in a comfortable position. Recovery time will vary depending on the patient, and is typically longer for patients who receive a bone graft. Once fully recovered, patients will have only small scars on their back near the incision site.
Dr. Melanie Kinchen of the 360 Back and Spine Center is the Grapevine area’s premier minimally invasive spine surgeon. Call today at 682-223-1346 to learn more about lateral fusion and schedule a consultation.