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Spinal Fusion

MD Spine Care and Orthopaedics  -  - Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

MD Spine Care and Orthopaedics

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons located in San Antonio, TX

If noninvasive treatments haven’t effectively relieved your back pain, you might benefit from spinal fusion — a surgical procedure to join two or more vertebrae together. At MD Spine Care and Orthopaedics, which has two locations in San Antonio, Texas, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Frank K. Kuwamura III, MD, offers a variety of spinal fusion techniques to address your specific needs. Call MD Spine Care and Orthopaedics or schedule a consultation online today for an expert orthopaedic spine surgeon.

Spinal Fusion Q & A

What is spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that joins two or more vertebrae together to form a single, solid bone. At MD Spine Care and Orthopaedics, Dr. Kuwamura offers several types of spinal fusion, including:

  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF®)
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)

Each of these techniques allows Dr. Kuwamura to reach your spine from different angles, including the front and side. He can use these procedures to fuse your vertebrae in your cervical (neck), lumbar (lower), and thoracic (middle) spine. 

When is spinal fusion necessary?

Dr. Kuwamura uses spinal fusion to increase the stability of your spine and reduce painful movements. When appropriate, he recommends spinal fusion procedures to address:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Infections
  • Tumors

Dr. Kuwamura provides extensive exams before recommending any treatment, including spinal fusion. He discusses your treatment options with you and answers your questions to help you make the best decision for your health and well-being. 

What happens during spinal fusion?

After you’re prepared for surgery and given general anesthesia, Dr. Kuwamura begins by making an incision in your body that allows him to access your spine. When possible, he uses minimally invasive surgical techniques to complete your spinal fusion.

If necessary, Dr. Kuwamura removes any damaged spinal discs or bone tissue. Then, he positions your vertebrae and attaches a bone graft. 

When necessary, he secures the graft between your vertebrae with medical-grade screws or wires. Dr. Kuwamura also injects stem cells into your spine to support and accelerate the healing process. 

Dr. Kuwamura might use a bone graft from your own body (autograft) or it could come from a bone bank (allograft).

When he completes the spinal fusion procedure, Dr. Kuwamura removes the surgical instruments and closes your incisions.  

What should I expect after spinal fusion?

After your surgery, Dr. Kuwamura recommends wearing a back brace to provide stability to your spine while you heal and your bones fuse. He prescribes medication to manage your pain and reduce your risk of infection. 

You also begin physical therapy around six weeks after spinal fusion. Rehabilitation helps you maintain correct spinal alignment while your bones fuse. You relearn how to sit, stand, walk, and reposition yourself. You improve your strength, range of motion, and balance. 

Recovery can take several months, although you can slowly return to your regular activities as you heal. 

If you have chronic back pain and other therapies haven’t provided relief, call MD Spine Care and Orthopaedics or make an appointment online to find out if spinal fusion is right for you.