Who Can Benefit from a Spinal Fusion?

Spinal fusion surgery is an effective way to relieve chronic pain when other therapies aren’t working. However, this type of surgery isn’t a first course of treatment and not everyone is a candidate for a spinal fusion.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, performs spinal fusion surgeries when you’re not finding relief of chronic pain from underlying spine conditions. 

Dr. Bo carefully evaluates your situation before he recommends any type of surgery – including a spinal fusion. Here, he outlines what spinal fusion surgery is all about and what might qualify you for having one.

An overview of spinal fusion surgery

Spinal fusion surgery focuses on joining two or more bones of your spine (vertebrae) together. The goal of surgery is to create one solid piece of bone that becomes stronger and more stable.

Dr. Bo is able to fuse multiple bones together using a bone graft that comes from your pelvis or another part of your body. If your bone isn’t sufficient for surgery, you might need donor bone to create the graft.

During your surgery, Dr. Bo places the graft material between your vertebrae that ultimately will heal into one solid bone. He might also need to use screws, rods, and metal plates to hold your vertebrae together as your graft heals.

Reasons for a spinal fusion

Since spinal fusion surgery will limit some of the flexibility you have in your spine, Dr. Bo will try other treatments before suggesting a spinal fusion to treat conditions like:

Herniated discs

Herniated discs describe damage to the protective discs that sit between the vertebrae of your spine. Pressure on the disc can force the gel-like center outward and compress nearby nerves. This nerve compression can often cause chronic back pain that worsens over time and can lead to disability.

Spinal fusion surgery can stabilize your spine and reduce pressure on both your remaining vertebral disc and surrounding nerves.

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease also involves damage to the spinal discs. This condition develops when the outside of the protective discs tear and causes persistent and intense pain. Degenerative disc disease can also compromise the structure of the disc that leads to a herniation.

Dr. Bo can recommend a spinal fusion if physical therapy and medications are no longer effective at treating your pain and mobility issues.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition where your spinal column begins to narrow. This loss of space can press on nearby nerves and lead to chronic pain and disability.

You might need surgery to remove portions of vertebrae and create more room in your spinal canal. Dr. Bo may then perform spinal fusion surgery to give your spine more stability.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of your spine. As this curvature worsens, surgery might be necessary to straighten the curve and preserve the integrity of your spine.

Dr. Bo can also perform a spinal fusion to keep your spine properly aligned and stable.

If you’re limited in what you can do because of spinal injuries or degenerative diseases, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Bo online or by calling The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office nearest you today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

Do you suffer nagging back or neck pain? That chronic pain in your back or neck may be an early warning sign of degenerative disc disease. Learn more about the risk factors for this disease and what your options are for treating it.

Back Saving Tips for Pandemic Holiday Road Trips

More than 115 million people took road trips to visit loved ones last holiday season. This year, exponentially more people will be driving long distances in cars to avoid crowded airports and airplanes. Read on for some tips to avoid back pain.

Why Do My Legs Keep Going Numb?

If you have concerns that numbness in your legs is happening more often or never seems to go away, don’t put off a diagnostic evaluation. Learn more about what might be causing your leg numbness.

7 Surprising Causes of Back Pain

Most of us know the usual culprits of back pain; stress, excess body weight, improper lifting technique, and poor posture. While these are the typical causes, unexpected issues can be causing all that agony. Read on to learn more.

How to Know If you Have a Herniated Disc

Persistent back pain or neck pain can be the result of a herniated disc. Learn more about what causes a herniated disc, how to recognize the symptoms, and which strategies you can use to treat it.