For patients with spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or degenerative disc disease, spinal fusion is sometimes needed to correct a deformity or halt any excessive movement of the vertebrae. Degenerative conditions can generate spinal instability that leads to premature wear and tear of the intervertebral joints and nerve compression. In addition, having an abnormal curve in the spinal column can cause similar complications.
When you receive a spinal fusion in New York, the surgeon ‘locks” two or more vertebrae together in an effort to relieve pain and increase spinal stability. A fusion of the vertebrates does not happen immediately – it is a gradual process that involves the insertion of stabilizing bone grafts and implants to “set” the bone; bone union can take place in a matter of months as the bones mend and grow together.
There are various ways our NYC patients can achieve spinal fusion and other minimally invasive procedures. Posterior spinal fusion in NYC is performed after a damaged disc has been removed. Not every fusion depends upon the placement of hardware (i.e. screws and plates), but all require a bone graft. Bone or bone substitutes are used in the graft to stimulate healing and activate bone growth, in addition to providing structure/maintaining space between vertebrae.
Treatment of a broken bone in the spine is similar to treatment of a broken bone in other parts of the body. Spinal fusion immobilizes the vertebrae (as in the case of a cast) so that proper healing can begin to occur Posterior spinal fusion usually requires a short stay at the hospital, with patients walking the day after surgery.
Your recovery time can vary depending on a number of factors but ultimately results in regained function and a return to an active quality of life. The total healing process can take three to six months, however this includes the initial recovery period and physical therapy regimen. For most of our NYC patients it progresses as follows:
A posterior spinal fusion may require a hospital stay of approximately two to five days. During that time, the focus is on pain management, wound care, and learning how to get in and out of bed comfortably and safely, without twisting or bending the spine.
You will need to rest at home for a few weeks after being discharged from the hospital. During this time, you will gradually increase your range of motion and movements under Dr. Stieber’s guidance.
You will need to begin physical therapy six weeks after surgery and this can last for several months. Dr. Stieber will closely follow your improvements and provide you with a tailor-made timeline for your return to normal physical activity.