Cervical and Lumbar discs can break down for a number of reasons, including injury, or natural breakdown as the body ages.
Cervical Fusion can help patients who are not candidates for cervical foraminotomy, cervical laminectomy, or cervical total disc replacement. For many conditions, spinal fusion is an excellent option and can result in dramatic improvement in pain symptoms and quality of life. Cervical Fusion can be performed using either an anterior or posterior approach.
Candidates for fusion surgery usually have some combination of the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Arm pain or weakness
- Changes in gait
- Difficulty walking
Anterior Cervical Fusion
Anterior Cervical Fusion is a surgical procedure in which a degenerative disc is replaced with a spacer and bone products to weld the adjacent bones together.
Posterior Cervical Fusion
Posterior Cervical Fusion is a surgical procedure in which screws, rods, and bone graft are used to weld adjacent bones together and stop motion. This is often combined with cervical foraminotomy or laminectomy to decompress affected nerves or the spinal cord.
One of the most common procedures in spinal surgery is a lumbar fusion operation.
Patients who are candidates for fusion surgery usually have some combination of back pain, leg pain, leg weakness, or even changes in gait and difficulty walking. This option is recommended for patients who are not candidates for lumbar decompression or lumbar total disc replacement.
Lumbar Fusions can be performed using different methods: posterior approach, anterior approach, a combined anterior-posterior approach, TLIF or XLIF. Lumbar fusion surgery is recommended as an option for very specific conditions affecting the lumbar spine:
- Facet disease with stenosis
- Previous failed surgery
Anterior & Posterior Lumbar Fusion Combined Procedure
In some instances a combined approach will be required. Usually the anterior fusion is done initially, followed by posterior fusion. Hospital stay is typically longer for the combined approach.
TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) is another type of lumbar fusion surgery generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material.
Unlike traditional back surgery, XLIF® (Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion) is performed through the patient’s side. By entering this way, major muscles of the back are avoided. This minimally-invasive procedure is generally used to treat leg or back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. It can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Patients who undergo posterior cervical surgery can often return to light activities within a few weeks, but this can vary depending on the individual patient, number of levels treated and other factors. Rest, physical therapy, and a course of pain management medication will all be included in the recovery period.
Minnesota Spine Fusion Surgeons
If you are experiencing neck and arm pain, an anterior cervical fusion may be the best option for you. Contact us at Midwest Spine & Brain Institute to discuss your options. 1.800.353.7720.