Spinal Fusion Surgery to Relieve Chronic Pain
Spinal fusion surgery is typically selected for treatment for disc-related back pain. Like it sounds, portions of the spinal column are fused together to stop motion where it is causing the patient the most pain.
There are many types of spinal fusion surgeries available, so it is difficult to discuss in depth in a short article, however in all cases it does significantly limit motion in at least the area where the spine was fused together. This said, it may result in greater movement elsewhere in the spine as the area causing the most pain is removed.
For a fusion to be successful there needs to be some level of successful bone healing. Depending on the fusion procedure used, this varies between 60 and 95 percent. However, a successful healing does not guarantee pain relief: only about 50 to 80 percent of patients see a pain reduction that is deemed “satisfactory” when compared to pre-operative levels.
There are also several risk factors to consider as well, the most common being infection, which is more commonly found in diabetic and overweight patients. Pelvic pain is typically a short-term side effect if the pelvic bone was used as a bone graft side, and in cases where the bone fails to heal, another surgery is typically required, which is a larger procedure and potentially more at risk for negative side effects.
Spinal fusion surgery typically is used for:
- Back pain due to degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
Other options for pain management:
If spine fusion surgery is not right for you, talk to your doctor about radiofrequency ablation or spinal cord nerve stimulation therapy.