I am Dr. Nitin Jagdhane (Jain), Neurosurgeon, Brain & Spine Specialists, Mumbai. Today I will talk about spinal fusion surgery. Many times people are scared of back pain. They go to orthopedics or a neurosurgeon, they are told that they need spinal fusion surgery.
What is exactly spinal fusion surgery? It is nothing but connecting the broken parts of the 2 vertebrae and later on utilized for many causes and many problems which lead to back pain and degenerative spondylosis and also for the tumors which are invading, the vertebral wounds which cause the instability. So, the most common reasons why spinal surgery is done these days is the degenerative spondylotic changes which affect the entire spine. The most affected either cervical spine than in the neck area and the lumbar spine.
What happens in the ages, there is wear and tear and because of this, the disc between the 2 vertebrae degenerates and sometimes it slips out and it causes the narrowing of the spinal canal. The neuro structure is compressed. Because of compression, the patient finds various symptoms like pain, especially in the lower back, pain in the neck which is associated with tingling and numbness of the particular limb. The upper and the lower limbs and sometimes in all 4 limbs. Sometimes, it is associated with the weakness of the particular limb. The weakness of the particular action. The procedure is decided by our neurosurgeon. There are various techniques like in the neck, the cervical region the most common fusion is done from the anterior.
Sometimes, depending on the pathology, the fusion is also done posteriorly. In the lumbar region and the lower back, there are various techniques for spinal fusion. Most commonly done techniques are from the posterior or from the backside, in the lumbar region. Sometimes the structure which replaces the disc is used but after seeing whether the artificial discs can be used or not. But since a long time, the support is kept between 2 vertebrae which gives the support to the adjacent vertebrae. And they help in realignment of the vertebrae. So that the neural structure which gets compressed is relieved and the pain which the patient is suffering from is also relieved. Many times, fusion alone releases a patient's pain because the pain is not only caused by the compression of the neural structure of the nerve but sometimes it is caused by the friction of the opposing vertebrae because of the degenerative slip disc also.
Once the motion segments are fixed, the pain also automatically gets relieved because of the fixation of the particular segment. So, this was about the various techniques that are used. But spinal fusion technique is not a very simple procedure. It is a very demanding procedure. Sufficiently qualified spinal or a neurosurgeon can do this procedure. But they also carry substantial risks. The main risks are like a failure of the procedure in the first and foremost. There can be a deterioration of the current neurological. There can be paralysis of the surgery which is contemplated. There can be other various problems such as infections, If the patient is older, then there can be an infection on the suture lines. So, based on all these things, these are the early complications. Ther are late complications as well as the adjacent segment disease.
What should you expect from the spinal fusion? Usually, the procedure is done for pain relief, giving stability to the spine. Fixation of the bone is not enough because muscles in the body are the main structure which holds the entire spine and the body. So, muscles rehabilitation is something which is required more. If you need any kind of help regarding spinal fusion procedures, you can visit any of the neurosurgeon and trained spinal surgeons. They will guide you what kind of surgery is suitable for you and what can you expect from the surgery. If you want to see our other videos, you can login to Lybrate.