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Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal Fusion Surgery

If you are suffering from a spine disorder such as spinal stenosis, scoliosis, or spondylolisthesis, spinal fusion may offer relief. At Brigham and Women's Hospital, we perform nearly 1,000 spinal fusions each year—the kind of high-volume experience that research has shown results in better outcomes. Our spine surgeons are highly skilled in the latest minimally invasive techniques for spinal fusion, which can reduce your pain, accelerate your recovery, and minimize scarring.

Spine surgeons at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Spine Service combine experience, expertise, and innovation to offer the most appropriate surgical approaches for treating difficult spine conditions.

Spinal fusion may be performed in the following cases:

  • In combination with other surgical procedures for spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column), such as laminectomy (vertebra removal) or foraminotomy (widening of the space where nerves leave the spinal column)
  • Scoliosis (side-to-side curvature), kyphosis (front-to-back curvature), or other abnormal curvatures
  • Following a discectomy (vertebra removal) in the neck
  • Vertebral fractures/injuries
  • Unstable spine caused by infections or tumors
  • Spondylolisthesis—when a vertebra slips out from underneath and then gets wedged on top of another vertebra

What Is Spinal Fusion?

Spinal fusion is a surgical treatment that fuses two vertebrae (spinal bones) together to stabilize the spine and stop the movement that is causing pain. It is often performed in combination with other back surgeries (e.g., scoliosis or osteoporosis treatment) to treat a variety of spine conditions occurring in the lower back and neck.

In spinal fusion, the surgeon uses a graft (implanted tissue) such as bone to fuse the bones together permanently. The surgeon may place the bone graft material over the back part of the spine or between the vertebrae, or may use a special cage packed with bone graft material placed between the vertebrae. Rods, screws, or plates are often also used in spinal fusion surgery to keep the vertebrae from moving until the bone grafts are fully healed. Other surgery, such as a discectomy (disc removal) or laminectomy (vertebrae removal), is almost always done before spinal fusion.

Why Choose Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery provides diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, including the bones and joints of the arms, legs, and spine, and nerves, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Our spine team includes spine surgeons, spine physiatrists, and pain management specialists who accurately diagnose patients and provide a complete range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options.

Brigham and Women's offers our spinal fusion patients:

  • Access to a dedicated and nationally recognized team of spine surgeons, all of whom are members of the faculty at Harvard Medical School
  • Expert surgical care that utilizes the latest technology and innovative surgical approaches, including minimally invasive options
  • A comprehensive approach to surgery that uses modern anesthesia, pain management, and rehabilitation techniques to help facilitate a smooth recovery
  • Compassionate, thorough and individualized treatment aimed at reducing pain, restoring mobility and getting you home faster
  • Clinicians who regularly participate in cutting-edge research studies that lead to advancements in treatment approaches for spine care
  • Virtual Visits that allow us to consult with you while you stay at home so you can remain connected to your care and on track with your treatment plan

Patient- and Family-Focused Care

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has long been committed to not only the care of our patients, but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care—involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment—is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Quality Of Patient Care

Brigham and Women’s is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women’s Spine Care Team

Our spine surgeons work closely with our spine physiatrists (also known as physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors), who specialize in non-surgical interventions. They, along with physicians at the Pain Management Center, collaborate to achieve an accurate diagnosis and offer comprehensive non-operative and operative care options.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital


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