If you suffer from back pain, it most likely worsens when you bend, lift, stand — or basically do anything that involves moving your back. Millions of people report back pain every year, leading to lost work hours, disability and even psychological problems. If you’re experiencing persistent back pain, it’s time to talk to Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine in Edison, NJ. This experienced neurosurgeon uses advanced procedures, such as spinal fusion when necessary, to relieve your pain for a long-term solution. Don’t let back pain suck the life out of you, call NU-Spine today to start enjoying your life once more.
Why Is Spinal Fusion Used?
Spinal fusion is an effective treatment for painful disorders of the spine, especially those that you’re your hurt with every movement. This surgical procedure involves joining two or more vertebrae together permanently, creating one solid bone with no space between them. Although it’s not always the first treatment recommended, it permanently resolves some causes of back pain.
Spinal surgeons use this procedure to eliminate any flexibility or motion at a painful vertebral segment. With no mobility between the vertebrae, there are no conditions that can cause you pain in the affected joint. Spinal fusion surgery relieves the symptoms of a wide range of back problems, including:
- Degenerative disc disease in your lower back
- Spinal weakness or instability
- Spinal repair after tumors have been removed
- Kyphosis of the middle spine
- Spinal stenosis in your lower back
- Scoliosis or curvature of the spine
- Fractured vertebra that causes spinal instability
- A herniated disc in your mid-back
- Tingling or numbness in one or both legs
- Sharp or severe pain in your lower back, buttocks or legs
Any one of these signs require immediate attention by an experienced spine doctor. You can find a world-renowned spine surgeon at NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in Edison, New Jersey. Dr. Branko Skovrlj uses a combination of cutting-edge procedures and latest technology to diagnose and treat a wide range of spinal conditions and diseases.
How Does My Doctor Decide on a Spinal Fusion?
Before recommending spinal fusion surgery, your spinal doctor first tries some non-surgical treatments, including pain medication, physical therapy, stretching exercises and steroid injections. If they work, you don’t need more invasive procedures. If these fail to deliver sufficient pain relief, Dr. Skovrlj can perform this spinal procedure.
There’s a variety of advanced techniques that an expert spine surgeon can choose from once he’s committed to the surgery, including:
The technique he chooses depends on the location of the affected vertebra, the condition of the surrounding vertebrae, and your overall health. Sometimes, your surgeon has to combine procedures, performing one before attempting the spinal fusion procedure. These complementary procedures include:
How Is Spinal Fusion Completed?
After reaching a diagnosis that requires spinal fusion, your doctor explains how he’s going to eliminate motion between vertebrae to reduce the pain in your back. The procedure typically involves a series of steps, such as:
- This surgical procedure requires you to go under general anesthesia. That means you need to spend at least one night in the hospital.
- The incision depends on the location of the affected segment of the spine. The incisions can be on the side of your spine, on your abdomen, in your throat, neck or back, directly over your spine. For an anterior lumbar fusion (ALIF) procedure, the surgeon approaches your spine through the abdomen, rather than through your lower back. ALIF surgery entails making an incision on the left side of the abdomen to reach your spine.
- Preparation of bone graft. The fusion requires a bone graft or a synthetic bone substitute to fit between the two or more vertebrae. Your doctor may harvest a bone from your pelvis or another part of your body. Donor banks are also available. If the bone graft comes from you, you likely need another incision to access that bone.
- Bone graft placement and fusion. Your doctor places the bone graft between affected vertebrae to join them permanently. Some procedures involve using a cage to hold the vertebrae and bone graft together.
- Internal fixation. After your surgeon places the graft, he may use plates, screws or rods to hold the graft in place until the fusion bond strengthens. This hardware stops any spinal movement between these vertebrae. The hardware speeds up the healing process and increases the success rate of the procedure.
Dr. Skovrlj at NU-Spine in Edison, NJ uses minimally invasive surgery techniques for spinal fusion, as well as for other spinal treatments. Trust him to make the best decision for your condition. He focuses on your comfort and your results.
Is Spinal Fusion Treatment Permanent?
All forms of spinal fusion aim to permanently eliminate motion between vertebrae in your spine. The affected bones in your spine heal gradually, fusing together to form an immobile spinal section. It’s an effective treatment for fractures, deformities or instability in your spine.
Dr. Branko Skovrlj and his treatment team at NU-Spine in Edison, NJ operate through a patient-centered approach. You get personalized attention, an accurate diagnosis and the spinal treatment that’s most appropriate to your condition. With a minimally invasive surgical approach, you enjoy faster recovery on your way back to your normal life. Contact the practice today to schedule an appointment.Page Updated on Dec 26, 2022 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey
Dr. Branko Skovrlj, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon and a fellowship-trained spine surgeon specializing in complex and minimally invasive spinal surgery, spinal revision surgery, and spinal deformity surgery for acute and chronic back pain relief. He combines advanced surgical techniques, vast skills, knowledge, and training to provide evidence-based treatments focused on successful long-term outcomes, with importance on both functionality and an aesthetically pleasing result with minimal to no visible scarring.
Dr. Skovrlj received his undergraduate degree from Clayton State University in Atlanta, GA, and his Doctorate of Medicine from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He then completed the Neurosurgery Residency, Complex Spine and Deformity Surgery Fellowship, and Minimally Invasive, Complex Spinal, and Deformity Surgery Fellowship programs at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. A member of numerous professional societies with multiple nominations and awards for his contribution to spine surgery, Dr. Skovrlj has over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the field of spine surgery and has presented over 150 clinical research papers at prestigious national and international meetings. He is also affiliated with multiple medical facilities and hospitals in NJ, including Chilton Medical Center and Saint Joseph's University Medical Center.More About Dr. Skovrlj