Back pain affects over 80% of adults at some point in their lives, whether it is lower back pain, middle, or upper. Back pain is often related to our working conditions, lifestyle and diet. Back pain is not typically self-inflicted, but rather a consequence of accidents, sports injuries or degenerative disease, such as osteoarthritis.
The pain is often controlled with exercise, principally exercises that focus on the strengthening of the back. Back pain can also be improved by losing excess weight, avoiding smoking or employing conventional non-surgical treatments.
When back pain persists, surgery may be your only option. When this occurs you should request a consultation to determine what type of surgery you may need. A consultation may indicate that surgery is not required and can give you some general guidance for conventional methods of therapy or direct you to the appropriate physical therapist.
Fusion may be recommended to treat scoliosis, a slipped disc, damaged joints or spinal stenosis. If you suffer from any of these conditions, it is vitally important to endure a check-up as pain can be persistent the longer you wait.
360 degree fusion is a minimally invasive surgery used to treat Spinal Stenosis. Fusion for spinal stenosis utilizes a combination of posterolateral fusion and interbody fusion, the two main techniques used in spinal fusion surgery. The purpose of 360 degree spinal fusion is to relieve pain in the spine caused by degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and abnormal spine growth. 360 degree fusion removes damaged parts of the bone or disc and fuses the vertebrae back together using bone graft.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal causing pinching of the nerves or the compressed area extending out to the legs. Spinal stenosis typically occurs in individuals over 50, however younger people who have narrow spinal canals are also at risk. Lumbar Stenosis is the most common type of Spinal Stenosis, which occurs in the lower back. Cervical Stenosis is the most dangerous and the rarer form of stenosis. It occurs in the upper back and neck and can adversely affect the brain and speech.
Preparing for 360 Degree Fusion Procedure
After you have been diagnosed, and it is confirmed that you need 360 degree spinal fusion, the next step is to set up an appointment to further discuss your options and what the procedure will entail. Upload your medical reports, MRI or X-Ray images to be prepared for the next consultation.
Posterolateral Fusion Vs. Interbody Fusion
The main difference between posterolateral fusion and interbody fusion is the placement of the graft. Posterolateral fusion tolerates the disc to remain intact and places the bone graft between the transverse processes of the vertebra allowing the morselized bone to extend from one vertebra to the next vertebra.
Bilateral screws and rods are fixated onto the pedicles for extra support. For additional support, bone graft morsels can be placed along the sides of the spine and rods. One level fusion fuses together two vertebrae, introducing 4 screws and 2 rods; two level fusion fuses together 3 vertebrae introducing 6 screws and 2 rods.
Interbody fusion implicates removing and replacing the damaged disc with a bone graft. The endplates of the vertebral bodies are cleaned prior to placement. The graft is located between the vertebral bodies occasionally through an anterior approach (front) in which a small incision is made in the abdomen, also known as ALIF (anterior lumbar interbody fusion).
Access to the spine through the anterior is easiest because the muscles in the abdomen run vertically, allowing the surgeon to simply move them over rather than disconnecting them, dissimilar to conventional open spine surgeries. Pain is also minimal because the muscle is not cut. An ALIF can be done with one incision or with several tiny incisions by using an endoscope, permitting better visualization.
Interbody fusion can also be performed by accessing the spine through the back, a technique known as Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) or Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF). The main difference between the two is the angle in which the disc is placed. TLIF is preferred by most surgeons.