Spinal fusion is surgery that joins, or fuses, two or more vertebrae together. The joints will no longer be able to move.
Most of the time, bone from your pelvic bone or from a bone bank is used to make a "bridge" between the vertebrae to be joined. Metal rods, wires, or screws are often attached to the vertebrae. This will hold them together until new bone grows between them.
Spinal fusion is major surgery. It usually lasts several hours. It involves making a cut in your back or your belly or sometimes both. The cuts, called incisions, leave scars that fade with time.
You can expect your back to feel stiff and sore after surgery. You will be given pain medicine. You will probably get up and walk at the hospital. You will be in the hospital for several days.
It may take 4 to 6 weeks to get back to doing simple activities, such as light housework.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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