Types Of Spinal Fusion
Lumbar fusion: It is performed to ease the pressure on the lumbar spine caused due to degenerative disc changes.
Within lumbar fusion, there are several techniques such as:
- Posterolateral fusion: In this procedure, the bone graft is placed in between the transverse process and the vertebra are then fixed back in place.
- Interbody fusion: In this procedure, the entire intervertebral disc is removed and a bone graft is placed in space between the vertebrae. There are various types of interbody fusion:
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF): It is performed from the front by making an incision in the lower abdomen, the intervertebral disc is removed and a bone graft is placed.
- Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF): In this procedure, an incision is made from the back, the intervertebral disc is removed, followed by inserting the bone graft between two vertebrae.
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF): This technique is also performed from the back.
- Oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion (OLLIF): In this procedure, the surgeon approaches the spine from the side of the patient.
Cervical fusion: It is performed to increase the motion and decrease the pressure on the cervical spine.
Thoracic fusion: It is performed when the thoracic spine is unable to move due to certain trauma or deformities.
There are multi-levels of spinal fusion surgery
- One-level spinal fusion: It is used to stop motion at one segment of the spine. In this procedure, two vertebrae are joint together to stop motion at one segment.
- Two-level spinal fusion: It is used to stop motion at two segments of the spine. In this procedure, three vertebrae are joint together. However, this is likely to put more stress on the remaining joints.
- Fusion of 3 or more levels: It is usually only performed in cases of scoliosis or deformities.
It is a surgical technique to join two or more vertebrae to ease the pressure on the spine. It can be performed in any section of the spine that causes discomfort to the patient.
In order to ensure if the patient does need this surgery, certain diagnostic assessments are used such as:
- MRI scan: To look for disc problems.
- X-ray: To check for arthritis, injuries to the vertebrae.
- CT scan: To rule out joint and bone problems.
- Bone scan