What is spinal fusion?
Spinal fusion involves removing the damaged disc, then replacing it with a cage and a bone graft. This allows new bone to form and cross from one vertebra to another and stop the painful movement.
The fusion of the spine can be performed through a cut on the back (posterior lumbar interbody fusion), or a cut through the front (anterior lumbar interbody fusion). Sometimes, a combination of anterior and posterior fusion is required if the spine is unstable.
Fusing a segment of the spine may put more pressure (and load) on the other discs. This may lead to earlier wear and tear in these discs. Therefore, spinal fusion should only be done when it is absolutely necessary and when all the other treatments fail to relieve the back pain.