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April 18 2021 at 03:13 AM by Biswajeet Sahoo


Degenerative disease of the spine is on the rise and many individuals are resorting to various treatment strategies to get relief. Age-related degeneration is the major cause; however, a variety of lifestyle factors are also known to play spoilsport.

Various treatment modes have been developed to correct the degenerative disease of the spine.

Spinal fusion is considered to be a gold standard in the treatment of the spine. This method involves the joining of two or more vertebrae. This method also known as spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis makes use of bone tissue either of the patient or from the donor to join the two vertebrae.

Spinal fusion is advised in one of the following conditions:

·         Degenerative spine disease

·         Scoliosis

·         Herniated discs

·         Spondylosis

·         Tumor in the spinal column

·         Discogenic pain

·         Spinal injury

·         Kyphosis

·         Fractures of the vertebrae

·         Spondylolisthesis

·         Posterior rami syndrome

Individuals with scoliosis have a spine curved towards the end. When such individuals are viewed from the back, their spine appears to be curved and not straight as in the case of normal individuals. Scoliosis treatment is done by spinal fusion which is carried out by expert surgeons. In cases of congenital scoliosis in infants, surgery may not be required and use of plastic jackets can permanently treat the condition in them. Whatever may be the case; spine treatment is exhaustive and explores all the possible treatment options, and churns out the best for you.

Symptoms of degenerative spine disease

Degenerative disease of the spine is a cause of severe discomfort for the individuals and gives rise to the following symptoms:

·         Pain in the lower a back region that gets worse in the sitting position.

·         Backache that gets severe during activities of lifting, bending, and twisting.

·         Individuals often tend to change positions to avoid the pain caused by long sitting hours.

·         Individuals are unable to sit for longer periods and may feel better by walking in between.

Types of spinal fusion

There are two types of spinal fusion and in many cases are often used together.

1.    Posterolateral fusion: In this type, the bone graft is placed in the back region of the spine.

2.    Interbody fusion: In interbody fusion, the bone graft is placed in between the vertebrae that need to be fused. With this type, the rate of fusion is higher as compared to posterolateral fusion.

When both these types of fusion are used it is known as 360 degrees fusion.

Spinal fusion – a procedure in detail

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure lasting for several hours. General anesthesia is administered and the patient is put to sleep. Once the anesthesia has shown an effect, the following steps are undertaken:

·         The surgeons make an incision in the back region to see the spine. The muscles and tissues are carefully separated to have a clearer view.

·         Next, by using refractors the surgeons hold the tissues and blood vessels apart so that they get sufficient area to work.

·         A bone graft is often used for fusing the two vertebrae together. It needs special mention here that, in case the condition of the individual demands additional surgical procedures such as discectomy, laminectomy to be done then these are first carried out followed by spine fusion.

·         The vertebrae are fused together by any one of the following ways:

                      i.        The bone graft maybe placed on the backside of the vertebrae.

                    ii.        The graft may be placed in between the vertebrae for holding them in place.

                   iii.        Cages containing the graft may be placed in between the vertebrae.

Once the grafting is completed, the vertebrae are fused together by means of screws, rods, plates or cages. These help the vertebrae to be in one place during the healing process.

The bone grafts is generally taken from the pelvic region either from the patient’s body or from a donor. Bone grafts act as a bridge between two vertebrae and they also help new bone to grow.

The complete fusion takes about 6 – 12 months. During this period, external support in the form of belts or braces is required to protect the spinal column from undue strain or injury. In cases, when fusion does not occur, the individuals might have to undergo the surgery again.

Risks associated with spine surgery

Spine surgery is a major operation and one can certainly expect some risks. These are:

·         Pain in the region where the bone graft was implanted.

·         Fusion was a failure due to breakage of metal implants that were used to hold the vertebrae in place.

·         Injury to the neighboring nerves.

·         Infection.

·         The body rejects the graft.

·         Blood clots that may cause a pulmonary embolism.

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