What is Spinal Fusion?

Category: Surgeries

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Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to correct problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). It is essentially a "welding" process. The basic idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone.

Reported purpose & perceived effectiveness
Purpose Patients Evaluations Perceived Effectiveness
Spinal stenosis 13 5
Nerve pain (neuralgia) 11 4
Scoliosis 11 7
Herniated disc 4 3
Degenerative disc disease 3 0

Show all 19 reasons taken


  • Major
  • Moderate
  • Slight
  • None
  • Can't tell

Side effects

Side effects as an overall problem

Side effects as an overall problem
Severity Evaluations
Severe
4
Moderate
9
Mild
2
None
3

Commonly reported side effects and conditions associated with Spinal Fusion

Side effect Patients
Pain in lower back 8
Back pain 4
Nerve pain (neuralgia) 4
Chronic pain 3
Pain 2
Anxious mood 1

Show all 26 reported side effects

Dosages

Based on patients currently having Spinal Fusion

Dosage Patients
one time 1

Duration

Currently having Spinal Fusion

Duration Patients
6 months - 1 year 2
2 - 5 years 2
5 - 10 years 1
10 years or more 2

Stopped having Spinal Fusion

Duration Patients
Less than 1 month 42
1 - 2 years 1
Adherence
Adherence Evaluations
Always 12
Usually 3
Sometimes 1
Never taken as prescribed 2
Burden
Burden Evaluations
Very hard to take 2
Somewhat hard to take 7
A little hard to take 4
Not at all hard to take 5
Cost per month
Cost per month Evaluations
$200+ 5
$100-199 1
$50-99 0
$25-49 0
< $25 2
Not specified 10
Last updated:

1 patient evaluation for Spinal Fusion

Aug 23, 2012 (Started Jul 05, 2007)

  • Effectiveness
    Slight (for scoliosis)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (muscle spasms in lower back, stiffness, pain in lower back, pain under left rib)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    A little hard to take
Advice & Tips: I was finally able to track down my xrays and one of the lab reports that have been lost in the corner of someone's office for several years. Before the surgery, I had an S-curve of the spine at maximum angulation of 45 degrees in 2006 which progressed to 53 degrees by 2007. The surgery corrected the curve to 26 degrees from T10 through L4 by fusing vertebrae with an internal brace from T11 through L3. This brace causes a lot of pain in my lower back and stiffness in my upper back and shoulders because I am physically incapable of doing many types of stretches without intense pain. I tried doing yoga once for a class; it was a mistake. Definitely do not try yoga with fused vertebrae. I also have a ball of pain under my left rib that feels more or less like it's full of toxins. Drinking lots and lots of water to flush my system out helps a little bit, but not nearly enough. One round of acupuncture stopped the pain for 3 days, but that's the most effective thing I've found to combat this pain so far. Normal OTC painkillers (I've tried ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium) have no effect on this pain in my rib. Long story short, Spinal Fusion Surgery only partially corrects the curvature of the spine. It does not alleviate any of the pain or other symptoms that come with Scoliosis. If anything, the pain I feel now is worse than it was before the surgery. More treatment is required for pain management.

Oct 19, 2011 (Started Jul 05, 2007)

  • Effectiveness
    Slight (for scoliosis)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (muscle spasms in lower back, stiffness, pain in lower back, pain under left rib)
  • Adherence
    Usually
  • Burden
    A little hard to take
Advice & Tips: Absolutely do not lift anything heavy after this kind of surgery until the muscles have fully healed, which can take a very long time. Also, when you go in for post-op x-rays, make sure the techs know why you are there so they don't press on the incision trying to get you flat against the board. Any carelessness, especially in the first several months after surgery, could cause a lot of problems later on.

Jul 5, 2007 (Started Jul 05, 2007)

  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for scoliosis)
  • Side effects
    Moderate
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Not at all hard to take
Dosage: One time
Advice & Tips: Yes, this surgery corrected my posture, which made my mother very happy. However, the level of pain is the same or worse as before the surgery and my movement and how much I can lift without intense stabbing pains around the internal brace is very restricted. I love to work, so I shove through the pain with "mind over matter" as much as possible, but given the choice again I would not go through with this surgery. At the very least I would not have allowed the doctors to rush me into it like they did. I would advise anyone thinking about having this done to look at alternatives first, try acupuncture or some sort of exercises to strengthen certain muscles to pull the spine back into alignment naturally rather than have this foreign, pain-causing intrusion placed in your body.

  • 0 helpful marks
Last updated:
Showing 1 of 1 patient evaluation for Spinal Fusion