Spinal fusion (also known as an arthrodesis), refers to a surgical procedure that permanently joins (“fuses”) two or more bones (in this case, vertebrae) together into one solid element in order to prevent motion. Your physician may recommend a fusion procedure if you suffer from back pain due to spine instability, severe degenerative disc disease, or fractures.
To facilitate this union, fixation devices are used to hold the spine in place while it heals. Other procedures are often performed together with spinal fusion in order to take the pressure off nearby nerves. These may include removing bone spurs and injured portions of one or more discs. The surgeon may also decide to use bone grafts to assist and augment spine healing after surgery. Usually, small pieces of bone are placed into the space between the vertebrae to be fused to provide immediate structural support, and to facilitate bone growth and natural bone fusion.
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