Spinal Fusion Surgery

In this procedure, two or more spinal bones (vertebrae) are permanently joined to relieve pain and make the spine more stable. The surgery can join vertebrae in the lumbar (lower back), thoracic (mid-back) or cervical spine (neck).

The OHSU Spine Center is committed to trying the least-invasive options first. Your doctor may recommend spinal fusion surgery, however, if other options haven’t helped.

The procedure

You are placed under general anesthesia. Your doctor removes the lamina, the part of the vertebra that covers the nerve roots. The doctor then clears any tissue pressing on the nerve roots to relieve pressure or pain.

The doctor places a bone graft in the space and uses small metal plates, screws or rods to hold the vertebrae and bone graft together. The vetebrae and graft permanently fuse together. This can relieve symptoms but can also put stress on the spine above and below the fusion area, potentially causing problems later.

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Conditions this treats

Spinal fusion surgery may be recommended to treat:

Spine surgery guide

Cover page of spine surgery guide shows hiker outside raisning his arms

Our guide will help you plan for your surgery, post-surgery rehabilitation and recovery.

Download the Spine Surgery Guide