The spinal fusion procedures are meant to connect two or more vertebrae in your spine, this way the motion between them is eliminated. To accomplish this the surgeon will use a technique that mimics the normal healing process of a broken bone, placing bone or some other bone-like artificial material within the space between two spinal vertebrae.
There are several cases when your doctor might recommend spinal fusion surgery, among which we find the following:
Herniated disk: After the removal of a damaged disk, spinal fusion can be used
Deformities of the spine: Scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. Spinal fusion may be used to correct the curvature
Spinal instability or weakness: Spinal fusion may be used to restore spine damaged by arthritis
The average cost of spine fusion in the U.S is $110,000
MedicW price in Mexico is $15,400, which represents a 86% savings
Surgery duration, about 2 hours
Duration of hospital stay: It requires to stay at the hospital several days (likely two to three days), depending on the case
Step 1: Incision
Anesthesia is applied so you will be sleep and won't feel any pain
Antibiotics might be given during and after the procedure, to help prevent infections
An incision is made in one of three locations: in your neck or back directly over your spine, on either side of your spine, or in your abdomen or throat so that your surgeon can access the spine from the front
Step 2: Bone graft preparation
The intervertebral disc located between the affected vertebrae will be removed
If the bone graft comes from your own body, usually from the pelvis, the surgeon makes an incision above your pelvic bone, removes a small portion, and then closes the incision. Alternatively, the bone graft can come from a bone bank
Step 3: Fusion
The bone graft is placed between the vertebrae
Special screws or other material to anchor the bone in place can be used
The surgeon will make other repair needed
The incision will be surgically closed
You will be asked to fast for at least eight hours prior to the surgery
After disclosing to the doctor any medication you might be taking, you might get asked to stop taking them
If you are a smoker, it is recommended to stop smoking prior to the intervention, usually around a month prior.
Your doctor might ask for some additional imaging, like an MRI
Usually, you will be given antibiotics to help prevent post-surgical infection
Surgery duration is around 2 hours
You might get an IV line
Excessive hair from the surgical area will be clipped off
The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery
After the surgery:
Hospitalization of two to three days is usually required
You should be able to resume fairly quickly most of your day to day activities, like your normal diet and activities
Your pain will be controlled with medication so that you can participate in the exercise
Once at home, it is really important to follow all doctor´s guidelines
It takes several months for the spine to heal and fuse together
In some cases wearing a brace might be recommended by the doctor
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