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Spinal Fusion

Spinal Fusion is a surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae to prevent movement that causes excessive pain. The aim is to ‘weld’ painful vertebrae together to form one bone and eliminate the movement and jarring caused by damaged vertebrae. It is most commonly used in the lumbar region of the spine but can be employed to treat cervical and thoracic problems.

Causes

The vertebrae that make up the spine can become worn and arthritic over time, leading to persistent pain and compromised physical function. It can be caused by injury and a range of conditions such as spondylolisthesis, stenosis, scoliosis, infection, tumour, or degeneration.

The result is that the spine doesn’t maintain its stability and the discs between the vertebrae, which act as shock absorbers, become damaged and shift out of position.

Symptoms

Pain radiates across the body depending on the site of the damage and patients will experience discomfort to severe pain and a restriction of their normal movement.

Diagnosis

Consultants will check for range of movement and determine the source of the pain. A range of non-operative approaches will be considered before surgery. MRI, X-rays and CT scans may be used to judge the extent of the damage and suitability for spinal fusion.

Treatment

The operation involves a surgeon using a bone graft to hold the damaged vertebrae in place. Screws, rods or plates may be needed to create a solid joint and restore pain-free function in a deformed, damaged or diseased spine.

The bone graft material can be positioned around or in the spine, or packed into a special cage that sits between the vertebrae. Your body then takes over, healing the bone around the graft to permanently fuse the vertebra.

A bone graft may be needed from the hip area or a synthetic substitute can be used to accelerate bone growth and the speed of fusion.

It is carried out under general anaesthetic and patients normally need a two to three-day stay after spinal fusion and it may take several months before the bones fuse completely.

The operation is effective and relieving the pain but immobilizing part of the spine does have an impact on areas around the fused portion so extra care will be needed in terms of physical activity in the future.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about our spinal fusion procedure then contact us today by phone on 020 3370 1030 or email spinespecialists@hje.org.uk

Spine Clinic

The Spine Clinic at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is a centre for excellence in the diagnosis, intervention and aftercare of all spinal conditions.

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Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 3370 1030.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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