By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
Spinal fusion surgery is indicated when the spine is expected to be unstable after the index operation. In general if there is a sign of instability before surgery, spinal fusion is indicated.
Spinal fusion for nerve compression
Spinal fusion surgery is often performed when the spine shows abnormal movement. Freeing up the nerve from compression (spinal stenosis) often requires removal of bones, ligaments and disc materials. This created further instability in the spine. If the spine is unstable prior to surgery, the spine will become more unstable after the surgery. Thus, spinal fusion is required
Spinal fusion for deformity (abnormal posture) correction
Scoliosis or kyphosis (hunched back) often requires surgery to correct the deformity. This requires spinal fusion surgery to maintain the correction and to provide immediate stability after major postural correction.
Spinal fusion for spinal tumor surgery
In spinal tumor, the normal bone is replaced by tumor tissue which causes weakness in the spine. Removal of spinal tumor creates void in the spinal segment which makes the spine very unstable. This void is often replaced by metal implant. Spinal fusion surgery is required to hold the metal implant in place and to provide immediate stability.
It is important to know the reason why spinal fusion surgery is required. If you have any questions about why you need spinal fusion surgery, you can approach your doctor for further clarification.
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.