Spinal Fusion

What is spondylodesis?

A scoliosis surgery is a considerable and irreversible intervention. The distorted segment of the spine will be aligned and stiffened (fusion, spondylodesis) simultaneously. The intervention is done either from the front (ventral access) or from the back (dorsal access) – in rare cases both access points will be used concomitantly.

After such a stiffening surgery other surgical or conservative treatment options are no longer available. It must hence always be regarded as a last resort if all other non-surgical therapeutic methods have failed and if there is no hope that with conservative care there will be any success.

A spondylodesis (fusion or stiffening surgery) should always be considered as a last resort, as it is an irreversible surgical intervention.

The insertion of the screws and bars is done through an incision at the centre line of the back at the level of the affected spine section. If no additional ventral fusion is planned, eventually bone grafts from the iliac crest will be taken and placed at the rear part of the spine. This will further support osseous stiffening.

If an additional ventral support and fusion is planned, the point of entrance will be an incision at the left abdomen. The spinal disk will be removed and replaced by a cage (placeholder made of bone graft, titanium or organic polymer thermoplastics like polyetheretherketones PEEK).

Numbers for success rates of such fusion surgeries cited in the scientific literature vary - a quote of 85% seems realistic.

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Slipped vertebrae L5/S1 before surgery Situation after the surgery. Vertebral bodies are back to alignment.

 

How is surgery carried out?

The insertion of the screws and bars is done through an incision at the centre line of the back at the level of the affected spine section. If no additional ventral fusion is planned, eventually bone grafts from the iliac crest will be taken and placed at the rear part of the spine. This will further support osseous stiffening.

If an additional ventral support and fusion is planned, the point of entrance will be an incision at the left abdomen. The spinal disk will be removed and replaced by a cage (placeholder made of bone graft, titanium or organic polymer thermoplastics like polyetheretherketones PEEK).

The intervention is done under general anesthesia and takes about two hours. You will be able to walk by yourself already two hours after surgery and you may go back home again after three days.

What post-operative care is necessary?

About six weeks you will have to carry a specially fitted corset and then it is recommended to start an individually targeted and professionally supervised physiotherapy.

When may I resume my sports activities?

After about 12 weeks you should be able to go swimming or to ride your bicycle. You may gradually resume your usual sports activities after 6 to 9 months.

When can I go back to work?

After six weeks you can resume simple office work and slight physical work. You shouldn’t do any hard physical work during the first 8 weeks and then only gradually increase.

What is the success rate?

In the international scientific literature success rates of more than 85% are quoted.

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Reviews

I needed to tell just one sentence and diagnosis was established and then also confirmed by imaging techniques. Neither the orthopedic specialist nor the radiologist I had visited before, had identified the herniated disc. They told me to do some sports and that surgery would not help. Immediately after the surgery in the ATOS clinic, my symptoms disappeared and I was also pain free. Absolute number 1 address for spinal disc problems.

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