Spinal Fusion Surgery in India
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae are joined or fused together. Fusion surgeries typically require the use of bone graft to facilitate fusion. This involves taking small amounts of bone from the patient’s pelvic bone (autograft), or from a donor (allograft), and then packing it between the vertebrae in order to “fuse” them together. This can be accomplished either posteriorly or between the vertebral bodies. When it is done between vertebral bodies, bone graft, along with a biomechanical spacer implant, will take the place of the intervertebral disc, which is entirely removed in the process.
Spinal fusion surgery is a common treatment for such spinal disorders as spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, severe disc degeneration, or spinal fractures. Fusion surgery is usually considered only after extensive non-operative therapies have failed. Two common fusion surgeries available at World Class Neurosurgery Hospitals in India for Spinal Disorders include posterior fusion and interbody fusion such as PLIF, TLIF.
Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
A PLIF may be performed to treat degenerative lumbar problems such as scoliosis or spondylolisthesis. PLIF can be performed as an open or minimally invasive procedure.
The procedure involves a laminectomy (removal of the laminae) and trimming or removal of the involved facet joints to access the nerve roots, disc, and spinal canal. The extent of the removal of facet joints may depend on the implant size and/or spinal level treated. A discectomy is performed. The spinal canal and/or nerve roots are decompressed and the implant (interbody device) is fixed in place and bone graft is added.
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
TLIF stands for Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion. This fusion surgery is a refinement of the PLIF procedure and has recently gained popularity as a surgical treatment for conditions affecting the lumbar spine. The TLIF technique involves approaching the spine in a similar manner as the PLIF approach but more from the side of the spinal canal through a midline incision in the patient’s back.
This approach greatly reduces the amount of surgical muscle dissection and minimizes the nerve manipulation required to access the vertebrae, discs and nerves. The TLIF approach is the preferred method at our practice for interbody fusion as it is generally less traumatic to the spine, is safer for the nerves, and allows for minimal access and endoscopic techniques to be used for spinal fusion.
We routinely do several types of spinal procedures utilizing minimal access techniques. The development of these techniques originated with the application of endoscopy during microdiscectomy surgery for herniated lumbar discs. It has now been applied to fusion surgeries. Ask a member of our clinical team to see if this might be right for you.
After Fusion Surgery
Recovery time is different for every patient. However, most patients are up and walking by the end of the first day after surgery. Most patients can expect to stay in the hospital for 3-5 days depending on their condition. Once released from the hospital, patients who have undergone a PLIF, ALIF, or TLIF procedures are given a prescription for pain medications to be taken if needed, as well as a detailed post-operative activity plan to help ease recovery and return to a healthy life.
What are the Advantages of Spinal Fusion Surgery?
In most cases, spinal fusion can eliminate the pain and other symptoms. It is important for a surgeon to explain the options, and benefits of spinal fusion surgery. There are many advantages of Spinal fusion surgery such as:
- By fusing the level, there is less concern that the patient will need surgery again at that level. If the discs and/or facets are pain generators, as is often the case, a fusion will ensure that motion at the level is stopped, potentially eliminating the low back pain.
- A second advantage of spinal fusion surgery is that it reduces post-decompressive deformity. Some patients develop post-laminectomy kyphosis, which is an abnormal alignment of the spine. This too can often lead to additional surgery. Similarly, a fusion can correct any deformity the patient had before surgery and ensure that the normal alignment of the spine is restored. This may reduce wear and tear (and need for future surgery) on the neighboring levels.
Best Hospitals in India for Spinal Fusion Surgery
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