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Back to Health With Spinal Fusion

Back pain can be debilitating, but spinal fusion surgery may bring significant relief with a relatively short recovery time.

Neurosurgeons use several different techniques, but essentially the procedure fuses vertebrae together to stabilize the spine after injury or to treat problems caused by degenerative disks.

Rob Dickerman, D.O., Ph. D., neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Presbyterian Hospital of
Plano, uses a technique that joins the vertebrae with a permanent bonding material.

“The material, which can be shaped and sized to fi t perfectly against the vertebrae, is filled and coated with a substance that encourages bone growth,” Dickerman says.

Surgery lasts one to three hours, and results are usually immediate. With the vertebrae immobilized, pressure is released from the nerves in the spinal column, which is commonly the cause of pain and numbness.

“The spinal discomfort may be gone instantly,” Dr. Dickerman says. “There is minimal pain at the incision site, but it goes away within the fi rst week.”

Patients can leave the hospital the next day and usually have a follow-up visit with the
surgeon in two weeks. Complete recovery can take three to four months, depending on where the fusion is performed and the speed of bone growth.

To learn more about spinal surgery options at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano or to find
a neurosurgeon on the medical staff, visit www.texashealth.org/php.

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