Non-Implant Fusion A Proven Technique For Back Pain Relief

Non-Implant Spinal Fusions

Florida Back Pain Center

Spinal fusion is one of the gold standards in spinal surgery and has been performed for nearly 100 years. In the fusion process, a surgeon uses a bone grafting material to cause two or more vertebrae to grow together into one long bone.

Until the 1960s, spinal fusions were without instrumentation, meaning grafts were performed without screws and other special devices to facilitate the fusion. The success rate were modest at best. Over the years, orthopedic surgeons have learned much about joining bones with plates and screws and adapted this knowledge to spinal surgery.

Although fusion without instrumentation are still performed, in the best of conditions these kinds of fusions offer a 60- to 70-percent success rate, compared to 90 percent or more with instrumentation.

How Fusions Work Without Instruments

A surgeon performs traditional spinal fusion surgery by exposing the bone of the vertebra, making it bleed. bone graft is then placed on the bleeding surfaces. The bone graft may come from either the surgery site or more typically from the hip area of the patient. Human donor bone (allografts) and some synthetic products can also be used. More recently, adult stem cells mixed with platelet rich plasma and bone has been used with increased success.

Spinal fusion surgeries usually require a general anesthesia, blood transfusions, and long operative times. All of the spine muscles around the fusion site need to be cut and often a significant amount of bone is removed.

Final Notes on Non-Implant Spinal Fusions

A fusion operation tries to speed up what your body will do naturally as the spinal degenerative process moves into the end stage of spontaneous fusion. But spinal fusions are performed for other reasons such as fractures, removing tumors, and correction of such deformities as scoliosis.

One of the problems that can occur is that the fusion does not take or heal. This is called a failed fusion, or pseudo arthrosis. This may require that the surgery be done again.

Another potential problem is a condition called “fusion disease” or “post-fusion disease”, a result of tissue disruption and damage during surgery. Fusion disease causes severe localized pain, muscle spasms, nerve irritation, excessive scar tissue formation, and pain at the bone graft site.

Factors that can cause fusion surgery to fail include:

  • Persistent motion at the fusion site
  • Poor health and nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Existing medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders, obesity, osteoporosis, and certain autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Parkinson’s and other neurological movement disorders
  • Non-compliant patient

In our experience, non-implant spinal fusions should not be a frontrunner for your back pain treatment when there are easier, more effective treatments available. Schedule an appointment at Biscup Spine by calling (800) 533-7313 to learn more about all of your options for spine surgery and back pain treatments.

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