There are about 1.2 million spine surgeries performed annually, and spine fusion surgery is a common choice. It’s effective at relieving pain and a number of other symptoms of common back problems. If you’re looking to help relieve symptoms, you might consider talking to your primary care physician about the option of a surgical procedure. If they’ve already recommended spine fusion surgery, keep reading to learn more about the surgery and how long it will take to recover.
What Is Spine Fusion Surgery?
Spine fusion surgery is a surgical procedure used to help relieve symptoms when someone is experiencing back problems. It works specifically by connecting two or more vertebrae in the spine. This eliminates motion between those vertebrae to help increase spinal stability.
A surgeon may complete the fusion with a variety of materials, including metal plates, screws, or rods. This helps the vertebrae heal together.
This surgical procedure most directly treats conditions such as deformities of the spine, weakness or instability in the spine, or stabilization after the removal of a herniated disc. In these conditions, motion tends to be the largest source of pain, making spine fusion surgery an effective option.
This procedure may be performed anywhere along your spine, from your neck at the top down to the bottom of your spine.
When Does Spine Fusion Surgery Make Sense?
Most doctors will only recommend spine surgery when they can directly diagnose the source of your pain. Since spine fusion surgery involves the combination of specific vertebrae in your spine, your doctor may order imaging tests prior to suggesting surgery.
These could include x-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These images will help your doctor see where exactly the vertebrae in your back could benefit from extra support.
How Long Does It Take To Recover?
After spine fusion surgery, most patients will spend a couple of days in the hospital. This ensures that your doctor or surgeon can monitor you for any early signs of complications. Once you’re released from the hospital, you should self-monitor for indicators of infection.
The healing process overall could take several months. In the case of spine fusion surgery, your bones are healing together, which can take some time. Your level of comfort, however, may increase at a faster rate than the bone heals.
It’s important to keep your spine in proper alignment while the bones are healing. Your doctor might recommend you wear a brace of some kind, or you might benefit from physical therapy to learn how to sit and walk with proper posture. You may start physical therapy anywhere from six weeks to three months after surgery.
Find The Best For Your Spine Surgery
If you’re having back problems, you deserve to find a solution to help relieve symptoms like spine fusion surgery. But it’s important to put the care of your back and spine in the right hands.
Here at Howell Allen, we specialize in neurosurgery and back care. Contact us today to learn more about our services.