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During spinal fusion, your surgeon locks together, or fuses, some of the bones in your spine. This limits the movement of these bones, which may help relieve your pain. Even so, you may feel more flexible after a fusion because you can move with less pain.
Which section of the spine is fused depends on where your pain is. Sections of the spine that may be fused include:
The neck (called cervical fusion)
The lower back (called lumbar fusion )
Fusion can be done from the front (anterior) side of the body or the back (posterior) side of the body. Your surgeon will decide which is best for you.
You will most likely arrive at the hospital on the morning of the surgery. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s instructions on preparing for surgery.
Call if you have any of these symptoms during your recovery:
Increased pain, redness, or drainage from the incision
Fever over 100.0°F
You should stop eating or drinking 10 hours before surgery.
If you take a daily medication, ask if you should still take it the morning of surgery.
At the hospital, your temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure will be checked.
An IV (intravenous) line may be started to provide fluids and medications needed during surgery.
At the start of your surgery, you’ll be given general anesthesia. This medication will make you “sleep” through the surgery. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist is in charge of the anesthesia. He or she may meet with you before the surgery begins to talk to you and answer your questions.
After the surgery, you’ll go to the PACU (postanesthesia care unit). You’ll stay there until you are fully awake, usually a few hours. Then you’ll go to your room. With cervical fusion, you may go home the next day. With lumbar fusion, you will stay in the hospital for 2–7 days.