Spinal fusion surgery may involve the use of pedicle screws. A Pedicle screw is one type of spine fusion instrumentation that is used to provide another layer of stability in the spine as the fusion is being set up. Pedicle screws provide a patient’s spine with the ability of gripping a spinal segment. While the screws are not focused on the segment of the spine that is being operated on, they do act as a type of anchor point that allows for the insertion of a rod. There are normally screws placed between two to three segments of the spine, and then the previously mentioned rod is used to connect the screws together. All of this is to help achieve the end goal of properly treating spinal conditions that may be improved or healed by spinal fusion such as stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, and more.
Connected together, these implants help prevent motion at the fused site. It can be best visualized as a sort of internal brace to help your body heal faster after a spinal fusion surgery. When the bone is fusing, or healing, it does so more efficiently when there is little motion or disruption in the environment. Bone is grafted during fusion surgery and when this graft has grown, the screws and rods are no longer necessary. Still, unless they are causing the patient discomfort, most surgeons do not recommend removing them. Only about 5 to 10 percent of patients report experiencing some form of latent pain or discomfort due to the remaining pedicle screws. Since the 1980s, the regulation and refinement of pedicle screw manufacturing and process of implementation has made them a favorable option. Many surgeons believe that they enhance recovery, stability and mobilization.
While pedicle screws have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the lumbar spinal region for specific conditions, the posterior pedicle screw fusion should only be practiced by surgeons who are experienced with the technique. Doctor Marc Cohen and his medical team are experts in the spinal field, and can help determine whether pedicle screw fusion is the best choice for your back pain. Contact us today.