The normal nature of spine is to have both stability and mobility at varying levels in different parts of the spine. But there are some situations where the spine needs to be fused at some spinal segment level. This surgery is called spinal fusion.
Fusion of the vertebrae involves insertion of secondary bone tissue obtained either through auto graft (tissues from the same patient) or allograft (tissues from the other person) to augment the bone healing process. Usually the autograft is derived from the bones of laminectomy/spinous processes. Additional bone maybe taken from the iliac crest (hip region), since this is an expendable region.
There are various spinal conditions which may be treated though spinal fusion such as:
4.Fractures of the spine
5.Scoliosis and Kyphosis (abnormal curvatures of the spine)
Spinal fusion can be performed through different angles (from the front/back) depending upon the specific advantages of each and the choice of your surgeon. The lumbar/thoracic spine is usually accessed from the back only. The cervical spine can be accessed from the front/back depending on the indication for surgery.
Spinal fusion can be performed by:
1.Pure bony fusion -It may involve interbody fusion where bone graft is placed in the space present between the two vertebras.
2.Bony fusion with additional Cage Insertion- A specially designed device made either from plastic or titanium may be placed between the vertebrae. This helps in maintaining spine alignment and normal height of the disc.