Your Notifications
All done, no notifications

Spinal Fusion: Symptoms, Classification, Diagnosis & Recovery

Spinal fusion surgery is a type of spinal procedure used to join two or more bones permanently in the spine and to prevent movement between them. The bones that are joined are called vertebrae. Spinal fusion surgery is performed along with other surgical procedures such as foraminotomy or laminectomy and after diskectomy in the neck. It is required if the patient has an injury or a fracture of the vertebrae. The spine will become weak due to an infection or tumors. Spinal fusion is also performed in abnormal curvatures that result from scoliosis or kyphosis.

Why is spinal fusion surgery required

Spinal fusion is a procedure that links two or more bones in the spine to enhance stability, address issues, or alleviate pain. It can be employed for various purposes:

Reshaping the Spine: Spinal fusion helps correct spine formation abnormalities, such as sideways curvature (scoliosis).

Addressing Weakness or Instability: When excessive movement between two spinal bones causes instability, often due to severe arthritis, spinal fusion makes the spine more secure.

Dealing with Damaged Disks: After removing a damaged disk, spinal fusion may stabilize the spine and promote overall structural integrity.

Before spinal fusion surgery, individuals may experience various signs and symptoms related to the underlying spinal condition that necessitates the procedure. Common signs and symptoms that might prompt a recommendation for spinal fusion include:

  • Chronic Back Pain: Persistent and often severe back pain that does not respond adequately to conservative treatments such as medications, physical therapy, or rest.
  • Limited Mobility: Difficulty in performing regular activities due to pain and stiffness in the back, leading to a reduction in overall mobility.
  • Nerve Compression: Symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the limbs, indicate potential nerve compression in the spine.
  • Spinal Instability: Excessive motion or instability between spinal bones, often caused by conditions like severe arthritis, which may be a factor leading to spinal fusion.
  • Deformities: Visible deformities or abnormalities in spinal alignment, such as curvature (scoliosis), which may be addressed through spinal fusion surgery.
  • Disc Degeneration: Severe degeneration or damage to intervertebral discs, which may require stabilization through spinal fusion after the removal of the damaged disc.

Before undergoing spinal fusion surgery, a thorough diagnostic process is typically conducted to assess the specific condition of the spine and determine the appropriateness of the procedure. Common diagnostic tests and evaluations before spinal fusion may include:

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: A comprehensive review of the patient's medical history, including a discussion of symptoms, previous treatments, and any relevant health conditions. A physical examination helps assess the overall health and functionality of the spine.
  • Imaging Studies: X-rays, CT Scans, and MRIs are performed to get the detailed Provide detailed images of the spine to identify issues such as fractures, degeneration, or misalignments.
  • Bone Density Testing: Assess bone density through techniques like dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to identify conditions like osteoporosis, which may impact the choice of spinal fusion materials.
  • Nerve Conduction Studies and Electromyography (EMG): Evaluates nerve function and identifies potential nerve compression or damage. Discography: It Involves injecting contrast dye into specific discs and imaging them to assess disc abnormalities, such as degeneration or herniation.

During spinal fusion, surgeons perform the procedure while the patient is under general anesthesia. The specific technique used depends on factors like the location of the spinal bones to be fused, the purpose of the fusion, and the individual's overall health.

Here's an overview of the process:

  • Accessing the Spine: Surgeons make incisions in one of three areas: either on the back directly over the spine, on the sides of the spine, or in the stomach area or throat when accessing the spine from the front.
  • Preparing the Bone Graft: The bone graft, sourced from a bone bank or the patient's own body (typically the pelvis), is readied for the procedure. In some cases, surgeons may opt for synthetic materials instead of bone grafts. If using the patient's bone, a small portion is removed near the pelvic bone.
  • Fusion: The surgeon places the bone graft material between the spinal bones, facilitating the fusion process. Metal plates, screws, or rods may be utilized to stabilize and support the bones during the healing of the bone graft.

Following spinal fusion surgery, patients typically stay in the hospital for two to three days. While some pain and discomfort may be experienced, effective medication management is usually provided. Once at home, promptly contact your doctor if signs of infection arise, such as redness, swelling, wound drainage, shaking chills, or a fever exceeding 100.4°F (38°C).

The healing and fusion of the affected spinal bones may take several months. Your doctor might recommend wearing a brace temporarily to maintain proper spinal alignment. Additionally, physical therapy can guide you in adopting movements and postures that support the correct alignment of your spine.

Mrs. Asmina Kauser Shuntoo
Mrs. Asmina Kauser Shuntoo


Asmina Kauser Shuntoo from India underwent Complicated Spine Surgery Read Full Story

Please Enquire

Required | alphabets and spaces
Required | A valid, working email address
Required | A valid contact

NOTE: With this information, I as a user, give MediGence the permission to access my healthcare related data and information to help me get the expert opinion. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

Best Spinal Fusion Hospitals

Assuta Hospital

Assuta Hospital

Tel Aviv, Israel

Assuta Medical Center is a leading private hospital in the capital city of Tel Aviv in Israel. Assut...more


family accomodation Accommodation

flight booking Airport Transfer

special dietery food Choice of Meals

interpreter services Interpreter

Joint Commission International, or JCI
Parkway Pantai

Parkway Pantai

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

History Parkway Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is operating under the Parkway Pantai gro...more


family accomodation Accommodation

flight booking Airport Transfer

special dietery food Choice of Meals

interpreter services Interpreter

Joint Commission International, or JCI

Founded in 1999, Medicana Camlica is a specialty hospital of the Medicana Group which is well known ...more


Private Rooms


Nursery / Nanny Services

Airport Pick up

Joint Commission International, or JCI

Consult Online with World’s Best Spinal Fusion

View All Doctors
Dr. Yashpal Singh Bundela


Ghaziabad, India

18 Years of experience

USD  22 for video consultation

Dr. Ismail Bozkurt


Istanbul, Turkey

7 of experience

USD  295 for video consultation

Dr. Baran Yilmaz


Istanbul, Turkey

20 Years of experience

USD  200 for video consultation

Dr. Rahul Gupta

Spine & Neurosurgeon

Noida, India

20 Years of experience

USD  36 for video consultation

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a spinal fusion surgery?

It involves permanent joining two or more vertebrae to prevent movement between them. This fusion is necessary when movement between the vertebrae causes severe pain.

How are the vertebrae fused together?

A bone graft or a synthetic bone is used as a substitute. These are placed between the vertebrae and cause the bone to fuse and prevent movement within this space.

Q. Is spinal fusion a painful operation?

A. The surgery is performed keeping the patient under general anesthesia. Postoperative pain and discomfort may occur but it varies depending on patient’s physical condition, age, and the location of the vertebrae.

Q. What are the risks associated with spinal fusion surgery?

A. The risks associated with spinal surgeries include the formation of blood clots and infection. With a spinal surgery, additional risks include nerve damage and increased wear of the vertebrae near the site of fusion.