back pain, Spinal fusion


This is the surgery to permanently connects two or more vertebrae in your spine to improve stability, correct a deformity and reduce pain. Spinal fusion is recommended to treat:

  • herniated disk – may be used to stabilise the spine after removal of a herniated disk
  • spinal weakness or instability – spine may become unstable if there is abnormal or excessive motion between two vertebrae. This is the common side effect of severe arthritis in the spine, spinal fusion can be used to restore spinal stability in such cases
  • deformity of the spine – such as sideways curvature of the spine (scoliosis)


Spinal fusion, as with any surgery, carries the potential risk of complications such as:

  • bleeding
  • blood clots
  • poor wound healing
  • injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine
  • recurring symptoms
  • pseudarthrosis – this is the condition in which there is not enough bone function. Causes of pseudathrosis include diabetic, older age. Moving too soon before the bone is able to fuse may also result in pseudarthrosis


The fusion process takes time. It may take several months before the bone is solid. During the healing time, the fused spine must be kept in proper alignment. Right after surgery, your doctor may recommend only light activity like walking. Physical therapy is usually started from 6 weeks to 3 months after surgery. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following doctor’s instructions will increase chances for successful outcome.