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Getting the Therapy
A doctor may recommend spinal fusion in circumstances where the predominant source of spinal pain is thought to be a severely degenerated disc between two vertebral bones or a "slippage" of the spine bones (referred to as "spondylolisthesis"). Slippage of the bones results in misalignment of the spine and possible entrapment of the spinal nerves.
Other circumstances exist in which a fusion may best treat the source of back or neck and leg or arm pain.
If you have degenerative disc disease that causes low back pain, you may be a candidate for spinal fusion surgery.
A spinal fusion procedure may be recommended as a surgical treatment option for patients with a condition causing spinal instability in their lower back. Some of these conditions may include degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis that has not responded to other treatment measures (rest, physiotherapy or medication). The symptoms of spinal instability may include pain, numbness and/or muscle weakness in the lower back, hips and legs.
Your surgeon will take a number of factors into consideration before recommending a spinal fusion. He or she will consider your medical needs and condition, as well as your age, health, lifestyle, and anticipated level of activity following surgery. Please discuss this treatment option with your spinal care provider.
Traditionally, a surgical procedure called a spinal fusion has been used to treat degenerative conditions in the spine. Using bone grafts and instrumentation such as metal plates and screws, this procedure fuses, or creates a bond between, two or more adjacent vertebrae. This aims to stabilise the spine and provide pain relief.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.