Those who have suffered injuries that require back surgery are faced with many tough decision, and very often one of those is whether or not spinal fusion is a good treatment option. This invasive technique is performed by essentially “welding” two vertebrae together.
Spine fusion can be a painful process. With its extensive recovery time and invasive nature, many patients actually end up suffering from failed back surgery syndrome following treatment as their problem persists. As a result, a growing number of back pain sufferers are turning to alternatives to alleviate their pain and live the fulfilling lives they desire.
Intradiscal electrothermal coagulation is an increasingly popular technique in which the annulus is warmed by inserting a needle and catheter into the affected area, thus closing the gaps made by tears that are the underlying cause of the pain. While this method has proven effective and is not invasive, it is a better option for those suffering from less severe back pain.
Another great way to avoid spinal fusion is to inquire about the possibility of pursuing disc replacement surgery. During this procedure, the spinal discs that are causing the discomfort are replaced with an artificial version. Disc replacement surgery is aimed toward allowing the patient to retain their motion while spinal fusion debilitates maximum motion since the discs are fused together. Furthermore, patients have given better feedback on the level of pain experienced through disc replacement in comparison to spinal fusion.
It should be kept in mind, however, that there are certain downsides to disc replacement surgery. The devices implemented during the surgery can fail over time, and making repairs to the replacements has proven to be a risky process in the event that such steps become necessary in the future.
To depressurize the negatively impacted vertebral disc while maintaining spinal motion, patients can seek posterior dynamic stabilization. This process is geared toward creating favorable conditions for healing of the condition. The devices used for this process are still being innovated, and the extent of risk is still largely being discovered.
Further discoveries are being made in the area of disc regeneration. Through highly technical gene therapy, scientists are discovering new ways to generate the growth of new cells to promote health and help avoid the need for any type of surgery.
Anyone facing the possibility of back surgeries should carefully consider their options before making a final decision. There are a variety of alternatives to spinal fusion.