Spinal fusion permanently joins two or more vertebrae using bone grafts.
There are different types of bone grafts:
- Autograft – a patient's own bone
- Allograft – a donor bone
Spinal fusion with instrumentation can correct spinal deformity, treat fracture or spondylolisthesis or stabilize the spine after discectomy.
Bone Graft Alternative
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is a protein that stimulates the growth of new bone. We use it in many spinal fusion procedures as a safe and effective alternative to bone graft. BMP facilitates fusion at a rate equivalent to or greater than traditional bone grafts.
Also called recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 or rhBMP-2, BMP occurs naturally in the body. Doctors can isolate and reproduce this protein as a result of human gene research.
Benefits of BMP
BMP allows surgeons to perform fusion surgery without relying on bone grafts. Benefits include:
- Shorter amount of surgical time
- Reduced complication rates
- Quicker and less painful recovery time
Spinal Fusion Procedure
Your doctor packs bone grafts between spaces where it will grow and heal. Instrumentation includes implants such as rods, plates, screws, interbody devices, cages and hooks.
Implanted instrumentation immediately stabilizes the spine after surgery to add strength and help maintain proper alignment while fusion occurs.
Depending on the type of fusion and instrumentation, you may need to wear a brace after surgery for added support during healing.
Common surgical procedures that involve spinal fusion and instrumentation include:
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
- Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
- Direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF)
- Extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF)
You must quit smoking for fusion to be successful.
UVA Spine Center
We offer treatment for simple to highly complex spinal disorders. Our back and neck specialists are experts in the field, and will develop a care plan specific to you or your family member's needs. View UVA Spine Center transcript.