Procedure

Thoracic Fusion- Spinal Surgery

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Thoracic fusion is a type of surgery that involves the bones of the thoracic spine. It permanently connects two or more of these bones. A surgeon places screws and rods to stabilize the spine.

Your doctor may recommend the surgery in the following conditions:

  • Sideways curvature of the spine in children during the growth spurt. Doctors call this condition Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).
  • Spinal instability due to trauma
  • Spinal deformity
  • Back pain due to problems with normal spinal functioning

Tests before Thoracic Fusion

Your doctor may order certain blood tests and X-rays to get details of the problem. Advanced imaging techniques, such as CT (Computed tomography) scan and MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) may be necessary in some cases.

CT scan uses X-rays to create detailed images of the thoracic spine. On the other hand, MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce images of the bones and nearby tissues.

Some of these tests may also be performed after the surgery to determine the success of the procedure. Moreover, your doctor may them to see if you have developed complications from the surgery.

What Happens during Thoracic Fusion?

The surgery requires you to be unconscious during the procedure. So, before the surgery, a doctor will give certain medications that cause loss of consciousness.

There are various techniques of thoracic fusion. The choice of a particular technique depends on the condition being treated.

Usually, it involves cutting your back to access the bones. Then, the surgeon will remove a part or all of the bones that are causing the problem. Finally, they will fuse the bones and place screws and rods to hold the fused bones together.

The entire procedure generally takes about five hours. However, you might have to stay in the hospital for up to five days.

Sources:

  • https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/adolescent-idiopathic-scoliosis#definition
  • http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/neurosurgery/ThoracicSpinalFusion.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15016398
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3886499/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5282647/
About the Author:
Shailesh Sharma is a registered pharmacist and medical content writer from Nepal. He enjoys digging into latest findings of research and strongly believes in evidence-based health information. He graduated from Pokhara University School of Health and Allied Sciences and was engaged in clinical pharmacy and academia in various regions of Nepal for almost 9 years. Shailesh also serves as Project Manager of Graduate Pharmacists’ Association, Nepal (GPAN).
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