Spine Fusion

Norris, Blessinger & Woebkenberg Orthopaedics & Spine

Orthopaedic Surgeons & Rehabilitation Centers located in Jasper, IN

If you suffer from chronic pain in your back or neck that worsens with movement, spine fusion surgery may greatly reduce or even eliminate your pain. The expert team of orthopaedic surgeons at Norris, Blessinger & Woebkenberg Orthopaedics & Spine in Jasper, Indiana, provides state-of-the-art technology with a patient-centered focus for those considering spinal fusion. The doctors have years of experience in successfully diagnosing and treating back pain and degenerative spinal conditions for the best orthopaedic care available in southern Indiana. To learn if spine fusion surgery can alleviate your chronic pain, call the office for a consultation or schedule online.

Spine Fusion Q & A

What is spine fusion?

Spine fusion surgery permanently connects two or more of your vertebrae so they can no longer move individually. Essentially, this “welding” of vertebrae can improve stability, correct a spinal deformity, or reduce pain long term. It’s often recommended for spinal problems such as:

  • Spondylolisthesis, when one vertebra slips onto the vertebra below it
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal weakness or instability as a result of severe arthritis
  • Broken vertebrae
  • Deformities like scoliosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Infection or tumors
  • Spinal stenosis

Your orthopaedic surgeon typically only recommends spine fusion when they can accurately pinpoint the source of your pain. If they know precisely that your pain comes from moving two or more specific vertebrae, they can fuse those bones together to prevent further motion and therefore reduce pain and restore spinal stability.

What does the spinal fusion procedure involve?

The procedure depends on which vertebrae in your spine will be fused together but in all cases, you’ll be under general anesthesia for the surgery. Usually, spinal fusion involves an incision to gain access to the vertebrae in your neck or back. Your surgeon can access your spine either from your back or the front of your body, such as through your abdomen or throat.

Next, they prepare the bone grafts they need to fuse your vertebrae together. Sometimes the bone graft comes from your own body or from a bone bank. Your orthopaedic surgeon may also use synthetic materials to help promote bone growth and speed up the fusion of your vertebrae.

Finally, your surgeon fuses the vertebrae together permanently, using the bone graft material. They may also use screws, rods, or metal plates to keep your spine in place while the bones heal.

You can expect to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days after spine fusion surgery, and it may take several months until your bones completely fuse together. You wear a brace for a while to keep your spine properly aligned and add support as you recover.

What is recovery like after spine fusion?

Everyone is different, so your recovery depends on factors like your overall health and the extent of your surgery. You’ll most likely experience some pain and discomfort for the first several days, but that should decrease as you begin the healing process. Physical therapy can help as you recover so you can move, sit, and stand properly as your body heals with your spine in its correct position.

If you’ve tried nonsurgical pain-relief methods without success, spine fusion surgery may offer long-term relief. Call the office or schedule a consultation online to learn more.