Type of Surgery

Information

Doctor Certified

Last updated: 11/24/2009

Diagnosis/Preparation

A potential candidate for spinal fusion undergoes a long series of medical tests. In patients with scoliosis, x rays are taken over many months or years to track progress of the curve. Patients with disk herniation or degeneration may receive x rays,...

MRI studies, or other tests to determine the location and extent of injury.

Patients in good health may donate several units of their own blood in preparation for surgery. This may be done between six weeks and one week prior to the operation. The patient will probably be advised to take iron supplements to help replace lost iron in the donated blood. Sunburn or sores on the back should be avoided prior to surgery because they increase the risk of infection.

A variety of medical tests will be done shortly before surgery to ensure that the patient is in good health and prepared for the rigors of surgery. Blood and urine tests, x rays, and possibly photographs documenting the curvature will be done. An electroencephalogram (EEG) may be performed to test nerve function along the spine.

The patient will be admitted to the hospital the evening before surgery. No food is allowed after midnight, in order to clear the gastrointestinal tract, which will be immobilized by anesthesia.



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In this spinal fusion, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to access the lumbosacral spine (A). The disks between the vertebrae are removed (B), and bone grafts are inserted into the spaces (C). Then another incision is made in the patient's back (D), and the vertebrae are exposed and fixed to the pedicle plates and screws (E) (Illustration by GGS Inc.) In this spinal fusion, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to access the lumbosacral spine (A). The disks between the vertebrae are removed (B), and bone grafts are inserted into the spaces (C). Then another incision is made in the patient's back (D), and the vertebrae are exposed and fixed to the pedicle plates and screws (E) (Illustration by GGS Inc.)




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Other Information

Spinal fusion, also known as spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis, is a surgical technique used to combine two or more vertebrae. Supplementary bone tissue (either autograft or allograft) is used in conjunction with the body's natural osteoblastic processes. This procedure is used primarily to eliminate the pain caused by abnormal motion of the vertebrae by immobilizing the vertebrae themselves.


From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinal_fusion

Other Information

The total number of neurosurgeries performed in 2006 was estimated at 2,171,195. Of these, 1,345,167 spine-related were performed, equating to nearly 62 percent of the total.


From: AANS

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