(Also known as: Arthrodesis, Posterior Spinal Fusion, Anterior Fusion, ACDF, TLIF, PLIF)
Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently join (fuse) together two or more bones in the spine so there is no movement between them. These bones are called vertebrae. The surgeon may use a graft the bones together permanently. There are several different techniques to perform a fusion and they can include:
• Strips of bone graft material may be placed over the back part of the spine.
• Bone graft material may be placed between the vertebrae.
• Special cages may be placed between the vertebrae. These cages are packed with bone graft material.
The surgeon may get the graft from different places:
• From a bone bank, called allograft.
• A synthetic bone substitute can also be used.
• From another part of your body (usually around your pelvic bone). This is called an autograft. If this is indicated, your surgeon will make a small cut over your hip and remove some bone from the pelvis.
The vertebrae are often also fixed together with rods, screws, plates, or cages. These rods, screws, or cages are referred to as instrumentation and are used to keep the vertebrae from moving until the bone grafts fully heal.