What is spinal fusion/stabilization?
Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently join together two or more bones in the spine so there is no movement between them. These bones are called vertebrae. The surgery uses bone grafts, screws, and rods to stabilize them. Other surgery, such as laminectomy, is almost always done first. Spinal fusion may be done if you have:
- Injury or fractures to the bones in the spine
- Weak or unstable spine caused by infections or tumors
- A condition called “spondylolisthesis,” where one vertebrae slips forward on top of another
- Abnormal curvatures of the spine
- Arthritis in the spine, such as spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column)
What’s the long-term outlook with spinal fusion surgery?
In most cases, the long-term outlook for patients with spinal fusion surgery is very good. If you had chronic back pain before surgery, you may still have some afterward. Losing weight and getting exercises increases your chances of feeling better.
After spinal fusion surgery, the area that was fused together can no longer move, reducing pain caused by excessive movement of the vertebrae.
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