Neurosurgeons located in Savannah, GA
Lower back pain is one of the top causes of disability and a problem many adults face by the time they reach their mid-40s. Whether you have chronic lower back pain or you struggle with neck pain, surgery to treat the problem often means needing a spinal fusion. Randolph Bishop, MD, Kelli Hendley, FNP, and the team at Neurosurgical Solutions specialize in helping patients get relief from spine-related pain, including performing minimally invasive spinal fusions. To learn if a fusion might relieve your pain, call the office in Savannah, Georgia, or book an appointment online today.
Spinal Fusion Q & A
What is a spinal fusion?
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that permanently connects adjacent vertebrae in your neck (cervical spine) or lower back (lumbar spine). Fusing two or more vertebrae eases pain caused by movement. The procedure also restores strength and stability to that segment of your spine.
A spinal fusion stops movement between the treated vertebrae. However, fusing two vertebrae seldom affects your mobility.
When would I need a spinal fusion?
You may need to consider a spinal fusion when physical therapy, steroid injections, and other conservative treatments fail to relieve your back or neck pain. The team at Neurosurgical Solutions may recommend spinal fusion surgery for conditions such as:
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet joint syndrome
- Spinal infection or tumor
These conditions may directly affect spinal stability and need a fusion. But in many cases, surgery to treat the condition leads to instability. For example, during decompression surgery, Dr. Bishop may remove part of the vertebrae, which weakens that segment of the spine. Performing a spinal fusion restores spinal strength.
What happens during a spinal fusion?
Dr. Bishop places the incision in the front, back, or side of the spine, depending on the type of spinal fusion you need. During your surgery, he removes the existing disc and replaces it with a bone graft.
There are several types of bone grafts, but they all do the same job: They accelerate new bone growth between the two vertebrae. As each vertebra grows new bone over the graft, they gradually fuse together and form one strong bone.
In some cases, Dr. Bishop may install pedicle screws and rods to support the spine while it fuses. Once the bones fully heal, he removes the hardware.
Can I have minimally invasive surgery for a spinal fusion?
In most cases, Dr. Bishop performs minimally invasive spinal surgery to do the fusion. For this type of surgery, he makes a very small incision and uses specialized tools that fit through the narrow opening.
During minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Bishop separates the muscles instead of cutting them. As a result, you have minimal bleeding and a lower risk of complications. After a minimally invasive spinal fusion, you also experience less pain and recover faster.
If you struggle with back or neck pain and would like to learn how a spinal fusion can help, call Neurosurgical Solutions or book an appointment online today.