Find Your Location
Understanding the Basics Behind Spinal Fusion
What are Spinal Fusions?
People with significant back pain may turn to surgical procedures after exhausting all other measures to seek relief.
Lumbar spinal fusion, a surgical treatment for spinal instability or scoliosis, is a viable solution for certain patients. Spinal fusion, when performed by the highly trained specialists at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance, allows patients an opportunity to return to the lifestyle they expect and love.
At Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance, our goal is to ensure you are well informed and able to make the right decision for your needs. Our dedication to bring value to our patients means only recommending surgical procedures if conservative options fail to resolve your spine condition.
Ask questions such as:
Spinal instability symptoms include:
Your First Appointment
Initially, you may notice some pain from scoliosis or spinal instability, but some patients don’t seek treatment until it worsens over time. Whenever pain becomes severe, limits your mobility, or causes you to have trouble sleeping, it’s best to visit a Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physician.
During your initial visit, we will ask you to fill out paperwork detailing your condition. You should also bring any X-rays or diagnostic tests you’ve had performed prior to coming to Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance for treatment. Last, we’ll require proof of insurance or form of payment for the provision of the services rendered.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Assessment
Assessing the Condition
During your appointment, you will sit with your Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physician of choice to discuss your fracture, pain levels, exacerbating factors that increase or decrease pain, previous treatments, and more.
From there, your provider will perform a physical exam and other necessary diagnostic studies. With your history, examination, and test results, your spine surgeon can build a treatment plan and determine whether spinal infusion in Kansas City is your best solution.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
From there, we can decide whether more conservative treatments will suffice or whether you would find the most benefit with surgery.
Your physician will utilize diagnostic tests to determine the severity of your spinal instability and/or curvature. Commonly, you may have to undergo X-ray exams to diagnose the condition. However, you may also undergo other testing options, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT scans.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you. From there, we outline what you can expect with your spinal fusion and how to prepare for your procedure.
The decision to perform lumbar spinal fusion surgery rests on several factors. Most importantly, you must have the appropriate indication for spinal surgery—that being spinal instability or a large spinal curve or scoliosis. Prior to even considering that spinal surgery, you need to have exhausted all non-operative treatments.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least two phone calls:
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery. Always check with your physician prior to surgery for his or her specific instructions.
Most physicians require that patients do not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery. Additionally, you will need to designate a family member or friend to drive you home on the day we release you from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery at KCOI, you can expect the following on surgery day:
What to Expect
Spinal fusion surgery is the fusing together of two or more vertebrae to eliminate motion between them. This fusion reduces pain, improves stability in the spine, and/or corrects the deformity caused by conditions like scoliosis. Unlike some of the non-operative treatment measures, a spinal fusion can lead to a more permanent fix.
During a spinal fusion procedure, you will remain under general anesthesia. From there, your physician will “trick” the vertebrae into thinking they are broken and need to fuse together. This happens through techniques that rough up the bone edges, then we apply rods and screws for added stability. Bone grafts—from both yourself and a cadaver—aid with the bone-fusion process.
Since all patients are different, we may implement slightly different processes to complete your spinal fusion. Our goal at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is to cater our treatment to your unique condition and needs.
After surgery, your physician will limit your spinal movement for about three months. This includes avoiding extremes of bending, lifting, and twisting. While it may be difficult to avoid common daily tasks, finding alternative solutions, such as not bending over to pick up a pen, can help. The goal is to try not to do too much during the initial post-operative period.
Common Signs & Symptoms
The physical symptoms of scoliosis or spinal instability often appear gradually and can initially go unnoticed. As curves in the spine become more prominent, you might require some form of treatment. To check for signs and symptoms, it’s important to assess your physical appearance and monitor any changes.
Causes for Spinal Infusions
Instability could come from a spinal injury or a degenerative condition that affects the vertebrae over time. In general, excessive motion could lead to pain and misshapen the spine.
Spinal stability may lead someone to undergo a spinal fusion in Kansas City, though the term is quite broad.
Many spinal fusion patients suffer from scoliosis, a deformity that creates a sideways curvature of the spine. In many cases, the cause behind the condition is unknown, and symptoms usually develop during growth spurts or just before puberty.
Scoliosis can be mild and managed without surgery. However, in severe cases, the deformity can worsen and cause back pain and other symptoms, resulting in the need for spinal fusion surgery.
If signs of scoliosis or spinal instability are present, you should always see your Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance doctor to discuss your options. Before considering spinal fusion, we will, in most instances, recommend exhausting conservative options. These include physical therapy, braces, pain-relieving drugs, and interventional physiatry techniques, such as epidural steroid injections.
Physical therapy is involved in the initial hospital phases to ensure you are safe to go home. However, most your physical therapy work won’t begin until about three months after surgery. The three month, low-impact period allows the bonding to heal, ensuring the cells in the fusion area remain on the path toward forming new bone.
There may be a need for continued medication management during your recovery from spinal fusion surgery. Your physician will work with you to help control inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.
Although a spinal fusion can ease your current neck, back, or leg pain, it may not always prevent future spine conditions. Taking care of your bones and joints is something you should implement in your daily life.
We recommend regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and monitoring your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. In doing so, you may reduce the amount of stress on your joints and slow down any potential degenerative process.
About Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance
Meet Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance
Our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians and surgeons are highly experienced in their respective fields and are considered among the top orthopedic providers in the Midwest.
Along with our Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and support staff, Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physicians deliver the utmost level of dedicated care across a range of subspecialties.
Don’t compromise quality care.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
Overland Park, Kansas10777 Nall Ave Suite 300 Overland Park, KS 66211
Leawood, Kansas3651 College Blvd. Leawood, KS 66211
Kansas City, MissouriSaint Luke's Medical Plaza #1 4320 Wornall Rd., Ste. 610 Kansas City, MO 64111
Belton, MissouriBelton Regional Campus 17067 S Outer Rd #301 Belton, MO 64012
Merriam, Kansas7450 W. Frontage Rd Merriam, KS 66203
Dr. Ting and his staff are the best!
Dr. Ting and his staff are the best! Sarah his nurse is kind and supportive. Dr. Tings nurse for surgery was absolutely the best! Dr. Ting, I have complete faith in. He is who I shall go to for anything he handles! Can’t say enough about him! Thank you all for making a scary time a completely peaceful event. You are the best!!
Thank you, Dr. Koreckij and Dr. Winston!
I have received very good care from both Dr. Korekij and Dr. Winston. Dr. Koreckij did a partial hip replacement …then I fractured and dislocated my wrist… Both doctors were caring and professional, took the time to answer my questions, and explained procedures. My recovery wasn’t easy, but they made it possible. I’m even playing my piano again, almost as well as before.
THANK YOU ALL!
This place is amazing! I cannot say enough good things about our experience here! From the reception desk where they were beyond helpful and even made phone calls for me to my kids pediatrician to very short wait time then the patience and help of doctors and staff that were great with my 3 year old! Getting same day service this great was so nice! Love this place and highly recommend!!