If you have a condition that causes chronic neck or back pain, spinal fusion surgery may be an option for treatment. A spinal fusion, or arthrodesis, is a procedure that joins two vertebrae in the neck or back, stopping movement between them. At Dignity Health, doctors perform spinal fusion in Arizona to relieve pain and restore mobility.
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Why Spinal Fusion May be Helpful
Your doctor may recommend spinal fusion if noninvasive treatments such as physical therapy, joint injections, or back braces, have not worked. A spinal fusion may treat chronic pain and disability caused by:
- Spinal infections or tumors
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing)
- Scoliosis or kyphosis (a)n abnormal curvature of the spine
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spondylolisthesis (a) vertebrae slips forward onto the one below it
If your doctor determines that surgery may be your best option, ask if you are eligible for minimally invasive surgery. It can result in less pain and a quicker recovery than open surgery.
What to Expect From Spinal Fusion at Dignity Health
Spinal fusion surgery will be performed in a hospital or outpatient surgery center at Dignity Health. You will be given general anesthesia, so you will be asleep and feel no pain. You will either have an open surgery with one large incision or a minimally invasive procedure with several small incisions. Your surgeon will use a bone graft to join two vertebrae together.
After your surgery, you may need to spend three to four days in the hospital, including time in a rehabilitation center. A neck or back brace will provide support while you heal. Physical therapy will help you regain strength and mobility. Your physical therapist will help you learn how to move, sit, walk, and stand in ways to protect your spine. Recovery from spinal fusion surgery may take up to a year.
Life After Spinal Fusion Surgery
After surgery, most people are able to be more active and have less pain in their back. Because the vertebrae are joined together, you may have less flexibility than before surgery.
You can take steps to prevent future back problems by:
- Avoiding repetitious movements that put stress on your back or neck
- Following recommended exercises to strengthen your neck and back muscles
- Maintaining good posture
- Using proper body mechanics when lifting heavy objects
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Dignity Health offers minimally invasive surgery to treat chronic back pain and disability with spinal fusion in Arizona.