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Spinal Fusion Tips

Postoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery!

Postoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery!

Spinal surgery becomes inevitable when back pain cannot be managed with medications and/or exercise. This is a major decision and requires planning for many things before, during, and after the surgery.

Before a spinal surgery- This preparation will help in smooth recovery, especially if you do not have a full-time caretaker.

  1. Discontinue pain killers: Discontinue pain killers at least 10 to 14 days before surgery. These are blood thinners and can prolong bleeding during the surgery.

  2. Prepare for blood loss: Most people experience some blood loss, but not excessive.

  3. Use a toilet seat raiser: Sitting and getting up from the toilet seat may be difficult. The seat raiser is used to increase the height, making this movement easy.

  4. Enable easy access to common items: Before heading for the surgery, keep things which are commonly used within easy reach. This will help reduce movement and avoid searching (especially if someone else is going to be doing it).

  5. Stock it up: Cooking may not be feasible during the initial postop period, and so it is advisable to stock up food items (ready to eats, fruits, soups, etc.) which will come in handy.

  6. Slip-ons: Bending down and tying shoes may not be easy, so slip-ons can be used.

  7. Caregiving: It is always advisable to have someone stay over with you during the initial postop days. They could help with regular household chores, cooking, etc.

  8. Lifestyle changes: Ensure you eat well in the days before surgery, quit smoking, quit/use moderate amounts of alcohol, and exercise as advised by your surgeon.

After Surgery- Post surgery, there will be some pain and limitation of movement. It is important to understand that adherence to post-op instructions will improve the success rate of the surgery. Also, recovery time for spine surgery is slightly longer and affects overall quality of life, so psychological preparation is required.

  1. Postoperative medications: These will be given to control infection and pain in the immediate postop period, and should be taken without fail

  2. Rehab: The surgeon will recommend physical therapy and rehab exercises which need to be followed. Complete recovery may take anywhere between 3 to 12 months. During this time, care should be taken to avoid repeat injury.

  3. Support: Adequate back support should be provided using lumbar support and ergonomic chairs, and the right posture should be maintained. Ensure there is no undue strain on the back muscles.

  4. Weight management: With excess weight, there is too much strain on the lower disks. Therefore, weight should be managed to reduce this strain.

  5. Smoking and alcohol should be completely stopped, as healing can be hampered.

With some preparation, spinal surgery can be sailed through smoothly. Consult an Expert & get answers to your questions!

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Expectations From A Spinal Fusion Surgery!

Expectations From A Spinal Fusion Surgery!

Spinal fusion is a surgery in which two or more vertebrae in the vertebral column or back are fused or joined to treat a slew of spinal problems and diseases, which cause debilitating back pain. This surgery helps to remove bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal, squeezing the spinal cord and nerves, reducing pain and improving function.

There are many different causes of back pain like injury, poor posture, age, osteoarthritis, herniation of disc between two vertebrae, degenerative disc disease, narrowing of spine called stenosis, and spondylosis or lessening of space between the vertebrae- most of these can be treated using spinal fusion.

All of these causes put tremendous pressure on the vertebrae and pinch spinal nerves that pass through the back and radiate out into the arms, legs and torso. Apart from the pain, patients experience nerve and muscle weakness and irreversible damage affecting normal life.

Spinal fusion started off as just a treatment for fractures but now it has become the surgery of choice for a number of spine problems. Though it can be done anywhere in the spine, it is very effective when done in the lower part of the spine called lumbar spinal fusion or arthrodesis.

Spinal fusion is done by forming a direct bony connection between the vertebrae surrounding the painful discs, the cushioning between the vertebrae. Pain is stopped by stopping the motion of the painful discs.

There are different methods of spinal fusion each with its own advantages and limitations.

Techniques include fusion approached from the front, the back, or both of the vertebral column. Sometimes surgeons decide to use intervertebral cages or metal screws to provide internal structural support while the bone fuses. These cages may be placed between the vertebrae and packed with bone graft material taken from the patient or constructed out of synthetic materials.

What to expect?
Spinal fusion is not a risk-free procedure. It is a major surgery lasting several hours and carrying a number of risks like-

  1. Failure of the vertebral fusion and breaking of metal implants
  2. The vertebrae above and below the fusion can wear away aggravating problems
  3. Blood clots may be formed that can travel to lungs causing embolism
  4. Injury to spinal nerves causing permanent weakness in legs and problem with bladder and bowel function
  5. Infections and blood loss
  6. Heart attack or stroke during surgery

The patient has to be kept in hospital for a couple of days for post-operative care after which he will have to undergo rehabilitation for months. Hence, one should really think before going for spinal fusion. And when it is recommended, seek a second opinion before making a decision.

What To Expect From Spinal Fusion Surgery?

What To Expect From Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion is a surgery in which two or more vertebrae in the vertebral column or back are fused or joined to treat a slew of spinal problems and diseases, which cause debilitating back pain. This surgery helps to remove bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal, squeezing the spinal cord and nerves, reducing pain and improving function.

There are many different causes of back pain like injury, poor posture, age, osteoarthritis, herniation of disc between two vertebrae, degenerative disc disease, narrowing of spine called stenosis, and spondylosis or lessening of space between the vertebrae- most of these can be treated using spinal fusion.

All of these causes put tremendous pressure on the vertebrae and pinch spinal nerves that pass through the back and radiate out into the arms, legs and torso. Apart from the pain, patients experience nerve and muscle weakness and irreversible damage affecting normal life.

Spinal fusion started off as just a treatment for fractures but now it has become the surgery of choice for a number of spine problems. Though it can be done anywhere in the spine, it is very effective when done in the lower part of the spine called lumbar spinal fusion or arthrodesis.

Spinal fusion is done by forming a direct bony connection between the vertebrae surrounding the painful discs, the cushioning between the vertebrae. Pain is stopped by stopping the motion of the painful discs.

There are different methods of spinal fusion each with its own advantages and limitations.

Techniques include fusion approached from the front, the back, or both of the vertebral column. Sometimes surgeons decide to use intervertebral cages or metal screws to provide internal structural support while the bone fuses. These cages may be placed between the vertebrae and packed with bone graft material taken from the patient or constructed out of synthetic materials.

What to expect?
Spinal fusion is not a risk-free procedure. It is a major surgery lasting several hours and carrying a number of risks like-

  1. Failure of the vertebral fusion and breaking of metal implants
  2. The vertebrae above and below the fusion can wear away aggravating problems
  3. Blood clots may be formed that can travel to lungs causing embolism
  4. Injury to spinal nerves causing permanent weakness in legs and problem with bladder and bowel function
  5. Infections and blood loss
  6. Heart attack or stroke during surgery

The patient has to be kept in hospital for a couple of days for post-operative care after which he will have to undergo rehabilitation for months. Hence, one should really think before going for spinal fusion. And when it is recommended, seek a second opinion before making a decision.

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Say No To Spine Fusion!

Refuse to fuse: advancements in spinal surgery

The spinal column is the best example of a structure which is strong enough to support hundreds of pounds of weight, yet flexible enough to allow nearly 180 degrees of bending, that too in all the planes. Spinal disorder limits either its supporting ability or flexibility.

Out of the two, loss of spinal stability is least tolerable as it directly affects the neural structures. The same dictum is also followed in the management of spinal disorders, as surgeons compromise the flexibility of the spine to provide more stability. Although it is good for relief of primary symptoms, it results in collateral damage to adjacent regions of the spine. This is medically known as "adjacent segment disease".

The recent surgical advances like dynamic interspinous stabilizers, disc replacement prosthesis and dynamic pedicle screws have opened new avenues for stabilization of diseased spine without compromising its flexibility. These surgical techniques in addition to preserving motion of the diseased segment, also minimize stress on adjacent regions which significantly decreases chances of adjacent segment disease.

Any choice of words is insufficient to elaborate on the importance of a stable and flexible spine.

Spinal Fusion Surgery - Know Its Surgical Procedure!

Spinal Fusion Surgery - Know Its Surgical Procedure!

Spinal fusion surgery is also known as spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis. It is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae are permanently joined into one solid bone with no space between them. The procedure aims at preventing the movement between two bones and prevents back pain. It can be performed at any level in the spine (cervical, thoracic, or lumbar).

Indications

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar spondylolisthesis ( a condition where one vertebra slips onto the vertebra below it causing severe pain)
  • Fractures
  • Unstable spinal column
  • Tumors
  • Severe arthritis Infections
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
  • Kyphosis (abnormal rounding of the upper spine)

When Does An Individual Need This Surgery?

Spinal fusion surgery is required if medicines, physical therapy, and other treatments (like steroid injections) do not relieve the back pain.

Types of Spinal Fusion

  1. Anterior spinal fusion
  2. Posterior spinal fusion
  3. Vertebral interbody fusion

Preparation for Spinal Fusion Surgery

  1. Preoperative preparation
  2. Preoperatively, 8-hour fasting is required. All the routine investigations, including blood tests, and X- rays are done.

Surgical procedure

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. A bone graft (ie, a synthetic bone or a small piece of the patient’s pelvic bone) is prepared to fuse the two vertebrae. Depending on the location of fusion, the graft is placed accordingly between the affected vertebras to join them. Once the graft is put in place; plates, screws, and rods are used to keep the spine from moving. This maneuver is called internal fixation. It provides stability and helps the spine to heal faster with a higher rate of success.

Postoperative

Postoperatively, the patient may need to wear a brace to keep the spine in proper alignment. Fusing may take up to 6 weeks or longer, after which normal activities can be resumed. Physical rehabilitation is required to strengthen the back and learn ways to move safely. Complete recovery takes about 3-6 months.

Complications

  • Infections causing inflammation of the affected parts
  • Poor healing causing pain
  • Pain at the site of the fused area, especially nerve pain
  • Heart attack or stroke during a spinal surgery
  • Reactions to medications or anesthesia
  • Respiratory problems
  • Damage to a spinal nerve leading to weakness, pain, bowel, or bladder problems
  • Blood clots in the legs that can be life-threatening if they travel to the lungs
  • Blood loss
  • Pseudoarthrosis (nonunion between fused bone segments)

Warning Signs of Infection

  1. Swelling, redness, or discharge from the operated site
  2. Fever above 100 0F
  3. Shaking chills
  4. Increased pain 

Safe and faster recovery from spinal surgery is suggested through physical therapy.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2639 people found this helpful

Spinal Fusion Surgery - What To Expect?

Spinal Fusion Surgery - What To Expect?

Spinal fusion is a surgery in which two or more vertebrae in the vertebral column or back are fused or joined to treat a slew of spinal problems and diseases, which cause debilitating back pain. This surgery helps to remove bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal, squeezing the spinal cord and nerves, reducing pain and improving function.

There are many different causes of back pain like injury, poor posture, age, osteoarthritis, herniation of disc between two vertebrae, degenerative disc disease, narrowing of spine called stenosis, and spondylosis or lessening of space between the vertebrae- most of these can be treated using spinal fusion.

All of these causes put tremendous pressure on the vertebrae and pinch spinal nerves that pass through the back and radiate out into the arms, legs and torso. Apart from the pain, patients experience nerve and muscle weakness and irreversible damage affecting normal life.

Spinal fusion started off as just a treatment for fractures but now it has become the surgery of choice for a number of spine problems. Though it can be done anywhere in the spine, it is very effective when done in the lower part of the spine called lumbar spinal fusion or arthrodesis.

Spinal fusion is done by forming a direct bony connection between the vertebrae surrounding the painful discs, the cushioning between the vertebrae. Pain is stopped by stopping the motion of the painful discs.

There are different methods of spinal fusion each with its own advantages and limitations.

Techniques include fusion approached from the front, the back, or both of the vertebral column. Sometimes surgeons decide to use intervertebral cages or metal screws to provide internal structural support while the bone fuses. These cages may be placed between the vertebrae and packed with bone graft material taken from the patient or constructed out of synthetic materials.

What to expect?
Spinal fusion is not a risk-free procedure. It is a major surgery lasting several hours and carrying a number of risks like-

  1. Failure of the vertebral fusion and breaking of metal implants
  2. The vertebrae above and below the fusion can wear away aggravating problems
  3. Blood clots may be formed that can travel to lungs causing embolism
  4. Injury to spinal nerves causing permanent weakness in legs and problem with bladder and bowel function
  5. Infections and blood loss
  6. Heart attack or stroke during surgery

The patient has to be kept in hospital for a couple of days for post-operative care after which he will have to undergo rehabilitation for months. Hence, one should really think before going for spinal fusion. And when it is recommended, seek a second opinion before making a decision. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.

4429 people found this helpful

Know More About Spinal Stenosis

Know More About Spinal Stenosis
  • A laminectomy relieves nerve pressure and pain caused by spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain throughout the spine and extremities. It can develop as a result of bone spurs or just from aging. In this procedure, a small section of bone that covers the back of the spinal cord, called the lamina, is removed to relieve the compression. A laminectomy is performed through the back of the spine under general anesthesia. The removal of the lamina and any bone spurs relieves the pressure on the spinal cord. The procedure may be done without fusion, or it can be performed in conjunction with a spinal fusion
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Spinal Problems In Children!

Spinal Problems In Children!

Neck and back problems are frequently observed in children. It should be thoroughly investigated to block any possible disorder related to the spine. Problems are generally detected by a specialist. Age plays a crucial factor here. Spine problems can be divided as per age of the kid. Some common disorders faced by the children of age bracket 1-2 are as follows:

  1. Spine problems among infants: Infants can face problems related to the spine due to poor feeding and irritation. One common problem among many new-born is the subluxation of the spinal vertebrae.
  2. The process of birth: Many times a fixation and misalignment of the of the upper cervices occurs during the process of traction, rotation and lateral fixation of normal birth. Even in C-section deliveries, the trauma of the birth process can result in spine related problem.
  3. Falls: Falls are a common cause of spinal problems in kids. Babies in the age group of 1-2 can experience a fall while trying to walk, rolling off the bed, negotiating with an obstacle etc. It is, therefore, safe to consult a doctor regularly to ensure the safety of the babies’ spine.

Congenital Anomalies:
Congenital anomalies are the result of neurological deficits or physical deformity. This can be detected by a doctor after a baby is born. Some of the common problems include the following:

  1. Malformation of the spinal cord- This is a condition where the spinal cord tethers. This is a condition where the spinal cord is not able to grow because of the thickening of the filum terminal.
  2. Spina bifida: This condition results from a condition where the closure of spinal laminae gets limited. This condition can result in symptoms such as paralysis, sensory changes etc. This condition can be easily identified by doctors. It presents with a tuft of hair over the spine.
  3. Klippel: Feil syndrome: Fusion of several vertebrae results in this condition. The flexibility of the neck gets severely restricted because of this disorder. A person with a disorder such as this presents symptoms such as low hairline, short neck and limited range of motion.
  4. Malignancy: A tumour in the spinal cord may present with symptoms such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and torticollis. This disease is widely detected within the first four years of a person’s life.
  5. Meningitis: This is a condition which is caused by a bacteria known as staph aureus. Some common symptoms include drowsiness, fever, vomiting drowsiness, tense anterior fontanel, an extension of the neck and head etc.
  6. Diskitis: This is an infection related to the intervertebral disk. It is mostly witnessed in young children along the lines of the lumbar spine. A kid with this condition may find it difficult to stand, back pain and mild fever at all times.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Spinal Compression Fracture - How It Can Be Treated?

Spinal Compression Fracture - How It Can Be Treated?

What is spinal compression fracture?
Spinal compression fractures are getting frequent due to the many lifestyle changes which we undergo. The body should not be made to be put use in a certain way like posture, lifting heavy weights, etc. However, prolonged and repeated usage affects the spine directly and results in compression fractures. Though the condition looks, gratifying, modern science has advanced to levels where the fractures can be addressed very effectively, and the pain symptoms can be eradicated almost completely. Let us have a summary about the treatment methods.

The treatment
The treatment plan of any spinal compression fracture should effectively highlight the pain, the factors leading to the pain and lastly the fracture itself. Our body has been designed in such a way that the spine can withstand an amount of pressure and force. As a result of it, it is one of the strongest parts of the human body. Hence most the fractures heal with pain medications and strength exercises. These activities can be embraced as a permanent one- thus eradicating the pain altogether.

Pain killers are administered gradually for a few weeks along with rest and once the pain subsidises strength exercises are imparted as a part of the treatment plan. In few cases, anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants can also help in relieving the nerve related pain. A back brace like an easily removable cast can also be put when doing the usual activities. This, directly stiffness the spine and provides it with support. The pressure to the spine can be greatly relieved due to the back brace.


Surgery for Spinal compression fractures
As stated, most of the spinal pain can go away with certain lifestyle changes and medications. However, in some extreme cases even after putting all the effort the pain does not go, then a surgical treatment has to be performed to correct the fractures. There are two minimally invasive procedures namely Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty and one complicated procedure known medically as the Spinal fusion surgery. In vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, bone cement is spread across in layers to the affected region.

These blocks of cement have a tendency to get strong in a matter of minutes, thus relieving the pressure immediately. Spinal fusion surgery is done in extremely rare cases where two or more vertebras are connected together using metal screws. Sometimes even a bone graft is affixed to provide support to the fractured region. Doctors, however, do not go for it usually as the procedure causes extreme inconvenience even after the treatment.

Prevention
Spinal compressions are a frequent occurrence nowadays, and as good physician would suggest prevention is better than cure. Making the much-needed changes to life and the activities we perform can drastically reduce the chances of getting a spinal compression fracture.

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Spinal Cord Injury: Know Everything About It!

Spinal Cord Injury: Know Everything About It!

A spinal cord injury is a damage to the spinal cord. It’s an extremely serious type of physical trauma that’s likely to have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life.

The spinal cord is responsible for sending messages from the brain to all parts of the body. It also sends messages from the body to the brain. We are able to perceive pain and move our limbs because of messages sent through the spinal cord.

If the spinal cord sustains an injury, some or all of these impulses may not be able to ‘get through’. The result is a complete or total loss of sensation and mobility below the injury. A spinal cord injury closer to the neck will typically cause paralysis throughout a larger part of the body than one in the lower back area.

Causes-

A spinal cord injury is often the result of an unpredictable accident or violent event. The following can all result in damage to the spinal cord:

  • A violent attack such as a stabbing or a gunshot
  • Diving into water that’s too shallow and hitting the bottom
  • Trauma during a car accident (specifically, trauma to the face, head and neck region, back, or chest area)
  • Falling from a significant height
  • Head or spinal injuries during sporting events
  • Electrical accidents
  • Severe twisting of the middle portion of the torso

Symptoms-

Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  1. Problem in walking
  2. Loss of control of the bladder or bowels
  3. Inability to move the arms or legs
  4. Feelings of spreading numbness or tingling in the extremities
  5. Unconsciousness
  6. Headache
  7. Pain, pressure, stiffness in the back or neck area
  8. Signs of shock
  9. Unnatural positioning of the head

If you suspect that someone has a back or neck injury:

  • Don’t move the injured person – permanent paralysis and other serious complications may result
  • Keep the person still
  • Place heavy towels on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck to prevent them from moving until emergency care arrives
  • Provide basic first aid, such as stopping any bleeding and making the person comfortable, without moving the head or neck

Prevention-

Because spinal cord injuries are often due to unpredictable events, the best you can do is reduce your risk.

 Some risk-reducing measures include:

  1. always wearing a seatbelt while in a car
  2. wearing proper protective gear while playing sports
  3. never diving into water unless you’ve examined it first to make sure it’s deep enough and free of rocks

Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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