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 the easiest, safest access to the affected vertebrae. Typically this is done in one of three locations:
The posterior of your body, usually the back or neck, directly over the damaged portion of the spine.
The throat or the abdomen above the affected portion of the spine. This technique, known as the Anterior approach, allows the neurosurgeon to have better access to the front of the spine and is typically a safer direction for surgery because there is less chance of hitting the sensitive nerve roots that exit the spine.
In less common instances, your neurosurgeon may choose a Transforaminal approach and access your spine from the side.
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 foster bone growth 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 carefully place the bone graft material between the affected vertebrae of the spine. Then, an 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.
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.