Spinal fusion results in fixation of two or more bones resulting in their movement as a single unit. This approach should be used when stabilizing for discogenic pain, or treating abnormal movement by restoring/controlling proper alignment. In the past, these procedures involved several hours, involved blood loss, and a multiple-day hospital stay. Through new technology, we are able to do almost all fusions in a minimally invasive manner, in less than one to two hours, with often minimal blood loss and expedited stay (many times overnight only). Spinal fusions can be done either in isolation or in conjunction with other procedures (e.g. laminectomy, microdiskectomy, etc.) depending upon the problem(s) involved. Screws and rods placed in this manner hold as a scaffolding until a patient’s own bone grows and fuses, to take over in strength (often over 3 to 6 months). In our practice, most activities can be done immediately following a fusion, with little restriction; most patients do not require a back brace after surgery either, and the smaller incisions result in lesser pain.
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