Spinal fusion refers to surgery that is performed to stop the motion of two or more vertebrae in the back.

Indications for spinal fusion include abnormal curvature of spine (e.g., scoliosis or kyphosis), back pain, traumatic spinal injury, and instability of the spine caused by infections, tumors, or surgical decompression of the nerve.

During spinal fusion, the surgeon performs a discectomy to remove a herniated or degenerative disc, and then inserts a bone graft (from the patient’s pelvic bone or from a bone bank) into the disc space between two adjacent vertebrae.

Over time, the bone graft and the bones above and below the disc permanently “fuse” together into a solid structure, preventing instability.

Fusion will restrict motion and flexibility when the back is bent backward or forward, but can help to ease back pain.

Good candidates for spinal fusion may include individuals with chronic back, leg and hip pain, as well as those who suffer from arthritis of the spine, lumbar spinal stenosis, a spinal fracture, scoliosis, and spinal deformities.

If you are considering spinal fusion, the spine specialists at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will help you decide on the best approach after considering a variety of factors, such as the condition to be treated, its location in the spinal column, and your overall health.