What to Expect When Undergoing Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion surgery involves the use of a bone graft or a bone-like material to connect two or more vertebrae. This procedure can be done anywhere along the spine to treat pain, degenerative diseases, and deformities of the spine.

At the Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, we can help you heal your spine using a minimally invasive procedure with reduced downtime and less discomfort. Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo may recommend spinal fusion surgery to patients who don’t respond well to physical therapy or epidural injections.

Below, we explain what you can expect during and after spinal fusion surgery.

Before and during the surgery 

During the two weeks leading up to the surgery, you’ll be asked to stop smoking and stop taking certain medications, such as birth control pills and blood thinners.

Along with this, you’ll need to bring a list of all the medications and supplements (including herbal) that you’re taking. You’ll then undergo a series of tests and get a physical examination for surgical clearance.

During the procedure, Dr. Okubadejo inserts bone grafts or bone-like materials between the vertebrae that need to be fused. He then uses metal plates and screws to hold the vertebrae in place.

High satisfaction rates

A study that looked at patients who underwent spinal fusion reported high satisfaction rates in over 90% of participating patients.

Another study that looked at the long-term success of spinal fusion for lower back pain found that patients who underwent spinal fusion were happier with their results compared with those who opted for physical therapy instead.

The ideal candidate for spinal fusion

Not everyone is a good candidate for spinal fusion surgery. You may need to make a few lifestyle changes to qualify for the procedure.

The ideal candidate is at a healthy weight, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t consume alcohol regularly. They should also be willing to spend some time in physical therapy following the procedure. 

Spinal fusion with less downtime and fewer risks 

In the past, spinal fusion surgery involved large incisions, and it required medical professionals to pull the muscles apart to reach the spinal cord. With a procedure like this, there’s a high risk for bleeding and muscle damage due to retraction. 

However, Dr. Okubadejo uses smaller incisions and powerful microscopes during a spinal fusion procedure to lower the risks for complications and reduce downtime. 

If you’re experiencing pain, weakness, or instability in your spine, contact Dr. Okubadejo to find out if you’re a good candidate for spinal fusion. 

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