The goal of spinal fusion is to relieve your pain and improve your ability to maintain an active lifestyle. Advances in medical materials, technology, and surgical techniques have made spinal fusion an attractive and effective option for treating fractures, deformities, and instability in the spine.
At Manhattan Orthopedics, located in Midtown Manhattan near Central Park and Columbus Circle, spine specialist Vikas V. Varma, MD, is a true leader in the field of minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery. He teaches modern techniques to other surgeons and has been recognized for his top-rated surgical skills as well as his commitment to providing patient-centered care that focuses on your needs. Affiliated with the Mt. Sinai Medical Center and School of Medicine, he offers academic level care in a private office setting. He has been the first surgeon to perform several minimally invasive surgical techniques at Mount Sinai, with some patients being able to return home in less than a day.
Dr. Varma is pleased to offer spinal fusion as a solution for patients experiencing spinal instability, scoliosis, deformity, stenosis, and other chronically painful back conditions. Is it right for you?
What is spinal fusion?
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that connects two, or sometimes more, vertebrae within your spine. This eliminates motion between the vertebrae, which often greatly reduces and even eliminates pain caused by spinal instability and deformities.
Stop the motion; stop the pain
Conditions that may respond well to eliminating motion or deformities between vertebrae with spinal fusion include:
Scoliosis and other spinal deformities
Pain experienced with scoliosis or other spinal deformities may be due to pressure on spinal discs or irritated and compressed nerves. An abnormal spinal curvature can also place excessive strain on spinal joints, which causes abnormal wear that can lead to inflammation. Spinal fusion can help correct spinal deformities and thus reduce pain.
Spinal weakness or instability
Excessive motion between two vertebrae can cause instability in your spine. The abnormal motion is often a side effect of severe spinal arthritis. Spinal fusion can restore stability by eliminating motion between the vertebrae, which effectively relieves pain and can increase your mobility.
Problems following herniated disc removal
Spinal fusion is often the best option for stabilizing the spine following surgery to remove a herniated or damaged disc.
Dr. Varma may also recommend spinal fusion for:
- Spondylolisthesis, a condition that causes vertebrae to slip out of place
- Spinal deformity or curvature
- Complicated spinal stenosis, narrowing of the spinal canal
Dr. Varma bases his recommendations for spinal fusion on the type and severity of your condition as well as the location of your spinal abnormality.
The many advantages of minimally invasive spinal fusion
Minimally invasive spinal fusion techniques use very small incisions to accomplish the same effects as the longer incisions used with traditional or open spinal fusion surgery. Open spine surgery also requires cutting through several layers of soft tissue, including muscle, to access the spine.
With a minimally invasive technique, Dr. Varma uses special tools to tunnel through rather than cut apart or strip muscle tissue. This helps speed healing after your surgery. Compared to open surgery, minimally invasive surgical approaches typically lead to:
- Less blood loss during surgery
- Reduced risk of infection
- Smaller incisions to care for postoperatively
- Smaller scars
- Decreased postoperative pain
- Shorter stay in the hospital
- Faster recovery and quicker return to daily activities
So, is spinal fusion right for you? Schedule an evaluation at Manhattan Orthopedics with Dr. Varma to explore your surgical options. Call the office to arrange a visit, or request an appointment online.