Spinal fusion

What is spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is where two or more vertebrae are joined together through surgery. The procedure aims to improve back pain by fusing together the vertebrae in order to stop movement between the vertebrae. Pain can occur in the back for many reasons, resulting in needing a spinal fusion, from fractured vertebrae, deformity correction, and instability in the spine.

What does this involve?

The basis of the operation involves bone tissue, either from the patient or a donor, and is inserted between two vertebrae. This encourages new tissue growth and should fuse the vertebrae together.

Your surgeon will discuss with you the exact method that will be used to do this, and whether any metal rods or screws will also be involved as well as the bone tissue.

When will I recover?

It is likely that you will need to stay in hospital for a minimum of two days after your operation, and possibly more than a week. Once you have returned home, you will not be able to return to your normal lifestyle until there is evidence of healing, which usually takes at least six weeks. For others, it will take much longer, and can be three or four months before healing occurs and you can carry on with daily activities.

You may also be recommended for post-operative rehabilitation, which will include back strengthening exercises and possibly light cardiovascular exercises.