WHAT IS SPINAL FUSION?
A spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that is used to join, or graft, two vertebrae together with the aim of preventing movement between them. Painful vertebral movement in the spine can be caused by a number of conditions, including:
During a spinal fusion, the physician will typically begin by making an incision at a location that best gives him access to the affected vertebrae. Typically this is done in one of three locations:
Your neck or back directly over the spine (known as the Posterior approach)
Your throat or abdomen so the surgeon can access the front of the spine (known as the Anterior approach)
Either side of your spine (known as the Transforaminal approach)
Atlantic Brain and Spine incorporates the latest in minimally invasive technology and techniques designed to minimize surgical impact and maximize recovery speed of a spinal fusion. These minimally invasive techniques reduce the size of the incision which, in turn, allows for a faster, less painful recovery process because it avoids surgical impact on the major muscles surrounding the incision site.
Next, the surgeon will prepare the bone graft. Bone grafting is, essentially, the transplanting of bone tissue to another area of the body in order to increase structural stability and growing bone around an implanted device. Oftentimes, the bone tissue used in a graft comes from a bone bank or your own body, likely from the pelvic bone.
At this point, the fusion will begin. In order to complete the operation, the surgeon will place the bone graft material between the affected vertebrae of the spine. Then, interbody device, rods or screws will be added to the surrounding vertebrae in order to reduce movement and allow the bone graft to properly heal.
ENTER SURFACE TECHNOLOGY
Atlantic Brain and Spine has recently partnered with Titan Spine for interbody devices used in the spinal fusion. Titan Spine has created an implant that actively participates in the fusion process and, through powerful technical advances in surface technology, helps promote proper and quicker bone growth. This is done at the nano level through a roughened implant surface. This surface, unlike what is commonly used in surgery, is specifically designed to create an enhanced osteogenic environment that “promotes implant stability, promotes osteogenic and angiogenic growth factors that are necessary for bone growth and fusion and encourages natural BMP production.”
After the spinal fusion is complete, a hospital stay of two or three days is typically required. This is simply to ensure that there were no adverse effects caused by the surgery and to give the bone graft time to properly set.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINAL FUSION
There are varying approaches to treating structural back issues surgically depending on the patient and their condition. As mentioned previously these surgeries (Posterior (PLIF), Transforaminal (TLIF), Anterior (ALIF) or Interlaminar (ILIF) Lumbar Interbody) simply require approaching the spine from different directions. We also offer an innovative technique known as XLIF, or eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion, which may allow for a faster, less painful recovery process by avoiding surgical impact on the major muscles of the back.