Spinal fusion – the joining or fusing of two or more vertebrae – involves many options and techniques, dependent upon the type of spinal disorder (e.g., scoliosis, spinal stenosis) being addressed. Specially designed implants (including cages, rods, hooks and screws) are also often used in a fusion surgery; they are intended to ensure correct alignment between vertebrae and help successful fusion to take place and add strength and stability to the spine during the healing process.
Use of Fusion Techniques, Devices and Options for Spinal Fusion Surgery
Traditionally a bone graft is used to facilitate fusion; this involves small amounts of bone being taken from the patient’s pelvis (autograft), or from a donor (allograft), which is packed between the vertebrae in order to “fuse” them together. A fusion is not always achieved after surgery; fusion rates vary depending on such factors such as whether or not the patient smokes, number of previous procedures, and the underlying pathology. Some special fusion techniques and options – Posterior Spinal Fusion, Spinal Implants, Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP), Interbody Fusion, Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF), Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF), and Far Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (FLIF) – are addressed in further detail on their respective pages.