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Key Benefits of Interspinous Fusion

Key Benefits of Interspinous Fusion

The spinal cord and nerve roots travel through a hollow space called the spinal canal. The nerve roots must have enough room to travel freely. Problems arise when the spinal canal narrows due to a condition called spinal stenosis. This narrowing compresses nerve roots which causes pain and other related symptoms. 

As a pain management specialist, Brian K. Rich, MD, leads our team at aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics, and he offers effective solutions for musculoskeletal pain.

When you have spinal stenosis, nonsurgical options are the first line of treatment. However, if these therapies fail to improve your symptoms, surgery provides an option for lasting relief.

Age-related changes to the spine and back injuries are the most common cause of spinal stenosis. The pressure causes back pain and tingling and numbness in the legs. Interspinous fusion surgery is a procedure we use to treat spinal stenosis. 

Interspinous fusion defined

Interspinous fusion surgery opens the spinal component where the nerve endings exit the spinal cord region and travel to the body. By running your hand along your spine, you can feel the bony protrusions, which are the spinous processes. We use an interspinous process spacer device to widen the area where nerve roots pass through the natural holes in the bone called foraminal holes.

What the interspinous fusion procedure is like

During the procedure, Dr. Rich makes a small incision in the back, over the spine, and removes a very small amount of soft tissue. This helps to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. 

A bone graft is placed to support the spine and sustain the spinal cord and nerve decompression. Eventually, the bone graft binds the vertebrae together. During the initial phase of the surgery, a metal plate is attached to prevent motion between the two vertebrae and maintain spinal column stability. After removing debris with irrigation and suctioning, the wound is closed with sutures.

How interspinous fusion helps you

In comparison to conventional spinal fusion methods, interspinous fusion for lumbar spinal stenosis offers numerous advantages. 

These advantages include:

Interspinous fusion has helped many patients get back on the road to pain-free living.

Candidates for interspinous fusion

Interspinous fusion is a treatment option for many people with mild to moderate lumbar spinal stenosis. Dr. Rich first recommends nonsurgical treatments, such as activity moderation, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections. 

If nonsurgical approaches are ineffective, we can discuss surgical options with you. 

Interspinous fusion for lumbar spinal stenosis 

Lumbar spinal stenosis damages the facet joints and reduces the size of the spinal canal, resulting in nerve root compression. Fortunately, interspinous fusion is very effective at relieving the compression on the nerve roots and improving symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness. 

What to expect when you have interspinous fusion

Depending on your treatment and baseline health, you can expect to stay in the hospital for 1-4 days after surgery. A physical therapist will assist you with getting in and out of bed and using the walking aid. 

It can take up to 12 weeks to return to your normal activities. If you have a sedentary job, you may be able to return within 4-6 weeks. The appropriate postoperative care is crucial to recovery. It’s important to follow the postop instructions. You can expect to follow up with Dr. Rich to ensure as smooth a recovery as possible. 

If you’re struggling with back pain, and nonsurgical methods haven’t alleviated your symptoms, you aren’t out of options. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rich to learn more about interspinous fusion and find out if it’s the right treatment for you.

Call or book online today. We have clinics in Southlake, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma. 

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