Fusing Troublesome Vertebrae

In golf-crazed Texas, most everyone knows about the world’s most famous spinal fusion patient — Tiger Woods. Now a year and change into his return to professional golf, most any story about him involves his fusion surgery and how it affects his golf game and his life overall.

Thus far, the results show real promise for any regular patient contemplating this procedure with the team at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders. After all, if Tiger Woods can swing a golf club at 120 miles per hour and not have any pain, what does that say for your 75 mile per hour swing?

In spinal fusion surgery, two or more vertebrae are fused into a single structure. The goal is to stop movement between the two bones and prevent back pain.

Why would a person need spinal fusion?

At DFW or any reputable facility, surgery is always the last resort. Physical therapy, pain and anti-inflammatory medicine, and possible steroid injections all need to be explored as treatment options before surgery is even a possibility. But if these conservative treatments are not relieving your pain, and if we know exactly which vertebrae are involved, spinal fusion then becomes an option.

Fusion could be good for you if these are causes of your back pain:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Fractured vertebra
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Tumors

The procedure

At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we perform spinal fusion in one of two ways:

  • Anterior fusion — We enter from the front side of your body.
  • Posterior fusion — We enter from the back.

Once the incision is made, muscles are moved to the side to expose the spine. Next the damaged disc or discs are removed from between the vertebrae. To maintain the proper spacing and elevation of your overall spine, a spacer is placed between the vertebrae. Then the two vertebrae are connected using screws and rods that make the two vertebrae a single element. To encourage the discs to grow into a single piece, bone graft material is placed between the vertebrae.

Six months to one year later, your back should be fully healed and your fused vertebrae strong and ready to get back to your normal life. In Tiger Woods’s case, this involved all of the torque and stress placed by the twisting of a golf swing. If it worked this well for him, imagine what it can do to relieve your pain and improve your decreased quality of life.

If you have chronic back pain, there is no reason to simply “live with it.” Call us at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685, to make your appointment.

Posted in: Spinal Fusion

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