What is Spinal Fusion

Spinal Fusion is a type of surgical treatment for spinal instability where two or more vertebrae are permanently joined to stop the movement between them. A fusion is like a welding to say in layman’s term. This fusion is done so that any discomfort or pain caused by stretching of nerves, ligaments and muscles are eliminated. The Spinal fusion is done for patients with spinal problems which result in instability. The procedure involves use of metal plates, screws, rods and bone grafts to join two vertebrae which over the period heals in natural manner and fuse into one.

There are 3 types of Spinal Fusion based on the affected area.

Cervical Spinal Fusion

When the pain is in the upper back and a spinal fusion is done in the neck area which is the cervical spine it is called Cervical spinal fusion. Most of the neck area pain requiring Cervical Spinal Fusion are due to degenerated disc or spinal injury.

Thoracic Spinal Fusion

When the pain is in the mid back and a spinal fusion is done in the mid back area which is the thoracic spine it is called Thoracic spinal fusion. Most of the upper-back area pain requiring Thoracic Spinal Fusion are due to degenerated disc, spinal injury or deformity.

Lumbar Spinal Fusion

When the pain is in the lower back and a spinal fusion is done in the lower back which is the lumbar spine it is called Lumbar spinal fusion. Most of the lower-back area pain requiring Lumbar Spinal Fusion are due to degenerated disc, spinal injury, deformity or tumor.

How is Spinal Fusion performed

In Spinal fusion the spine surgeon makes an incision in your back or abdomen or both or from side depending upon the location of vertebrae that needs to be fused. If it is done from back – it is called Posterior Fusion and if it is done from the front abdomen then it is called Anterior Fusion. After the incision, the spine surgeon approaches the affected vertebrae and removes the joints from the problem causing discs. Then the surgeon uses rods, screws, metal plates or bone graft from your body or a donor to connect the problem causing discs and prevent them from moving. In some cases, the spine specialist might use a synthetic substance called bone morphogenetic protein instead of bone grafts. This substance stimulates bone growth and accelerates the fusion process.

There are 3 types of Spinal Fusion techniques

  • Posterior Spinal Fusion – In this technique the fusion is done by making an incision from the back. It could be for Cervical, Thoracic or Lumbar region.
  • Anterior Spinal Fusion – In this technique the fusion is done by making an incision from the front like from neck, chest or abdomen depending whether it is for Cervical, Thoracic or Lumbar region.
  • Minimally Invasive Spine Fusion– In this technique, the spine surgeon does smaller incisions to reach the affected area and perform the Spinal Fusion.

Why to choose Spinal Fusion treatment in Mumbai

Spinal Fusion is usually recommended in the cases where back pain or neck pain is caused by spinal instability or deformity. The solution for such pains is to correct the instability or deformity by fusing two or more vertebrae.

Some of the conditions which can be treated by Spinal Fusion are:

  • Spinal deformity like Scoliosis and Khyposis
  • Spinal Stenosis – a condition where the spinal canal shrink
  • Spinal Tumors
  • Spine Infections
  • Spondylolisthesis – a condition where the spine disc moves forward
  • Spinal Injury and Fractures
  • Degenerative disc diseases – wear and tear of disc which results into narrowing of spinal canal or causes friction leading to back pain

When should I consider opting for Spinal Fusion

At Spine and Sports Clinic we believe that surgery as an option should be the last resort for treating pain caused by spinal disorders. Not more than 10% of the cases citing pain due to back pain or neck pain or spine related pain needs spine surgery. So do not delay in consulting our spine specialist, Dr Bhavin Shial. If Non surgical treatments like medicine, physiotherapy, posture correction & spinal injections don’t result into relief in a defined period of time then the spine specialist can list the other surgical options like Spinal fusion. This procedure is usually selected when the cause of the pain is instability or deformity of spinal bones and rectification method is to fuse the spine bones. The common conditions treated by Spinal fusion are Spondylolisthesis and Degenerative disc diseases.

FAQs for Spinal Fusion treatment

What is the cost of a Spinal Fusion

The cost of a Spinal Fusion depends upon the severity of the condition, patient’s health, the procedure to be adopted, the equipment, implants, bone graft to be used and the hospital and ward category selected.

Dr Bhavin Shial performs Spinal Fusion for spine patients at various budget and premium hospitals in Mumbai and he will guide you on the most economical option for you based on your need.

Who is qualified to perform a Spinal Fusion

Spinal Fusion can be performed by Spine surgeons, Orthopaedic surgeons and Neuro surgeons. Dr Bhavin Shial is one of the best Spine specialists in Mumbai and is a certified Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon. He holds a degree in Master of Surgery in Orthopedics and has done his Spine Fellowship from P.D. Hinduja Hospital. He has also earned esteemed international fellowship in Microsurgery and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery training in Germany. In his experience spanning over 11 plus years, he has performed more than 3000 + spine surgeries and provides best spine treatment in Mumbai.

What is the success rate of Spinal Fusion

Spinal Fusion is more complex kind of spine surgery treatment, and a 100% cure is rare. It requires a long-term commitment from the patient’s side to follow the post-operative care in order to attain maximum benefit. The success of the surgery totally depends upon factors like patient’s health and age, severity of the condition, post-operative care and follow-ups.

In how many days do you get discharge from hospital after a Spinal Fusion

Since Spinal Fusion is a little complex technique with the use of metal plates, screws and/or bone grafts. Hence, the hospital and the surgeon take additional care to keep the patient under observation in the hospital for a little longer than the other spinal surgeries. In most cases the patient is discharged in 4 to 5 days after the surgery.

What is the post-operative care to be taken for Spinal Fusion and for how long a period does one needs to take it?

The post-operative care and period varies for each case. Common post-operative care includes following doctor’s advice on wearing braces, medicines, physiotherapy, avoiding heavy weight lifting, rest, follow-up consultations and keeping a watch on fever and infection. The period of post-operative care ranges from 3 to 6 months. The patient needs to visit the surgeon periodically with Xrays to keep a check whether the fusion of the bone grafts is progressing as planned.

Is Spinal Fusion covered under Mediclaim

In most cases Spinal Fusion treatments are covered by your health insurance or Mediclaim company. The extent of coverage would totally depend upon the type of policy and sum insured opted by you. It is advisable to check with your Mediclaim company and get a better clarity.

What are the non-surgical alternatives to Spinal Fusion

Almost 90% of the Spine problems can be rectified with non-surgical treatments and do not need surgery. At Spine and Sports Clinic, we do not believe in suggesting unnecessary surgical procedures. Dr Bhavin Shial’s first route of treatment is non-surgical options. Some of the non-surgical alternatives for spine problems that he suggests depending on the health of the patient and severity of the condition are Rest, Posture correction, Physiotherapy, pain medicines and epidural injections. It is advisable to visit Spine and Sports Clinic in Mumbai and consult spine specialist, Dr Bhavin Shial to discuss the non-surgical options suitable for your condition.