Considering Spinal Fusion? The Risks and Alternatives You Need to Know

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Spinal Fusion Surgery: The Last Resort for Relieving Back Pain

Our spine, a crucial part of our anatomy, provides the flexibility and strength for daily activities; however, it can also be a source of discomfort when afflicted by various conditions. If conservative treatments fail to bring relief, some patients experiencing chronic back pain consider spinal fusion surgery - a procedure that unites two or more vertebrae in the spine. However, it's essential to note that this surgery is often regarded as the last resort.

Decoding Spinal Fusion Surgery

During spinal fusion surgery , the surgeon removes the deteriorated disc or bone between the affected vertebrae. A bone graft or biological agent encouraging bone growth is then used to fill the gap. This graft serves as a bridge, facilitating the vertebrae's gradual fusion. For extra stability during this process, metal implants like rods, screws, or plates may be deployed.

Weighing the Risks of Spinal Fusion Surgery

Like any surgical procedure, spinal fusion surgery carries certain risks and potential complications. Common ones include infection, bleeding, failed fusion, nerve injury, rejection of the bone graft, and problems with the metal implants such as irritation of surrounding tissues.

Additionally, there's a phenomenon called "adjacent segment disease" to be aware of. This condition refers to the increased stress and potential for degeneration in the vertebrae adjacent to those involved in the fusion. Simply put, once a section of your spine is fused, the segments above and below that area bear additional weight, which may speed up their degeneration and increase the likelihood of needing future fusion surgeries.

Considering the Alternatives

At Ospina Medical, we firmly believe that spinal surgery should be a decision taken after exploring less invasive treatment options. Treatments like physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture can offer substantial relief for conditions like degenerative disc disease or spinal instability (spondylolisthesis). NSAIDs and epidural steroidal injections can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain in conditions such as a herniated discs. Additionally, the new era of regenerative medicine offers potential surgical alternatives as well.

Exploring Regenerative Medicine with Regenexx

Regenexx offers cutting-edge regenerative medicine options, such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and platelet lysate, which serve as potential alternatives to invasive surgeries like spinal fusion. These treatments harness the body's natural healing mechanisms to treat injuries and degenerative conditions. By concentrating and processing the healing factors called platelets in your blood, PRP and platelet lysate have the potential to address the root cause of pain and resume natural healing processes.

PRP and platelet lysate by Regenexx present promising non-surgical solutions for many patients exploring their pain management options. 

Navigating the Post-Surgery Recovery

For those who continue forward with spinal fusion surgery, recovery involves a well-planned rehabilitation program to restore mobility, strengthen muscles, and improve functional abilities. It's important to follow postoperative instructions diligently, as they play a crucial role in your recovery outcomes.

Embracing Your Pain Management Journey

Everyone's pain management journey is unique. While spinal fusion surgery can be an effective solution for some, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Before deciding on such a substantial step, consult with our team at Ospina Medical.Dr. Kohler is a Regenexx provider skilled in the targeted delivery of the premier treatments, and may be able to help you bypass or delay spinal fusion surgery. Together, we can better understand your pain, explore various treatment options, and design a personalized path towards improved health.

Written By: Roopak Sadeesh

Edited By: Camden Rowe

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.