Spinal fusion, or disc fusion, is a surgical procedure designed to correct issues within the vertebrae. During the procedure, Dr. Subramanian performs what is basically welding. He fuses together two or more vertebrae so they heal into a single bone. This eliminates pain during movement and/or restores stability to the rest of the spine.
Dr. Subramanian only performs spinal surgery when the source of a patient’s pain can be directly pinpointed. He may use imaging tests, scans or MRIs to do so.
Spinal fusion may relieve some of the following back symptoms:
- Degenerative disk disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Fractured vertebra
- Herniated disk
Disc fusion eliminates motion between the vertebrae, and prevents the stretching of surrounding nerves, ligaments and muscles. Fusion takes away some flexibility, but most only involve small segments of the spine, and limit motion only slightly.
Depending on each patient’s anatomy and problem area, Dr. Subramanian may approach the surgery from a patient’s front, side or back. Along with technological advancements, Dr. Subramanian has been able to use more minimally-invasive techniques, to reduce recovery time and size of the scar necessary for surgery.
Every patient’s spinal fuses uses a bone graft to help promote fusion. This means small pieces of bone are inserted into the space between the vertebrae to help them fuse together. There are many different types of bone grafts. The graft Dr. Subramanian chooses for each patient depends on the parameters of each individual’s unique procedure.
Following surgery, Dr. Subramanian may require patients to wear a brace, to help support the new spinal structure. Additionally, he may use plates, screws and/or rods to help hold the spine still while it heals. This allows patients to recover more quickly.
After surgery, patients usually feel some pain, for which Dr. Subramanian may prescribe medication. The full fusion process takes several months, but a patient’s comfort level improves more quickly. Dr. Subramanian and his team teach patients how to move properly to improve healing.
To learn more about disc fusion or to schedule a consult with Dr. Subramanian, visit houstonspinedoc.com/contact or call (713) 650-6900.