Spine Surgery

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to correct problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). It is essentially a "welding" process. The basic idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone. Spine surgery is usually recommended only when your doctor can pinpoint the source of your pain. To do this, your doctor may use imaging tests, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Here are some of the conditions that may require spinal fusion. Click on the links to learn more.

Understanding how your spine works will help you better understand spinal fusion.

Learn more about your spine: Spine Basics

Incision Site

Surgeons can reach the spine by making an incision (cut) in different places on your body. Incision sites are often described as:

  • Anterior. This term refers to the front of your body. In spinal fusion surgery an anterior fusion is done by making an incision in the abdomen (belly).
  • Posterior. This refers to the back of your body. If you are having a posterior fusion in your lower back, you will lie on your stomach during the operation and your surgeon will make the incision in your lower back.
  • Lateral. This refers to the side of your body. Surgeons can reach certain parts of the lumbar spine by making an incision in your side.