Spine fusion

There are different types of surgeries that are available for the back and using a particular one depends on the surgeon's assessment of the situation in hand. Everyone experiences pain in the back during the course of their life. However, most such pains can be cured through non invasive means. It is estimated that roughly 95% of back pain cases can be cured without opting in for surgery. In most cases even approaching the surgeon is not necessary. The physician will provide some pain killers and some anti inflammatory medications which are more than sufficient to ease the pain.

However, there are some stubborn pains that require more than just medications to get rid of. For such types of pains, the doctor might recommend the patient to do several types of aerobic exercises that stretches and compresses the spinal cord. For those who do not know, the spinal cord is made out of 32 pieces of bone that have supple disks between them. The combination of these bones and the disks permit us the freedom of bending during the course of our day to day activities.

The spinal cord also contains lots of nerves that link our brain to the other limbs of our body. If and when the disk slips and puts pressure on the nerves, we experience pain. On such occasions the only way out is to opt in for surgery. The surgeon will get some x-rays done to locate the root of the problem and if required opt in for surgery. Spine fusion is one of the different types of surgeries available for problems related to the back. This type of surgery is done under general anesthesia and the patient remains unconscious during the course of surgery.

The total time required for such procedures can be anything between 2 to 12 hours and it totally depends upon the complexity of the surgery. Previously spine fusion surgeries were done using a large incision but with newer techniques cropping up, nowadays the surgeries are done with smaller incisions. In order to fuse the spine, the surgeon requires small pieces of additional bone for filling up the space between the 2 vertebrae. Generally this bone is taken from the pelvic region of the person who is being operated on.

This is known as autogenous bone. On certain occasions the bone is also taken from a bone bank and this is known as allograft bone. Nowadays even genetically engineered proteins are being used as substitutes for bones. On certain occasions the surgeons even use plates, metal cages, screws, rods, and wires. Like with any other type of surgery, this procedure too has its inherent risks. There might be pain at the site from where the donor bone is grafted from.

Apart from this there are chances of infection along with injury to the nerves. The patient will have to stay at the hospital for several days post operation and shall also suffer from discomfort and pain. Pain killers are generally prescribed by the surgeon to take care of such pains and they might be administered orally or intravenously. Recover time lies between several weeks to several months.

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