Spinal fusion

If you have spinal instability, which can be caused by osteoarthritis or injury, this procedure is often used along with lumbar decompression.

What does the procedure involve?

It involves permanently joining two or more vertebrae together using a bone graft (usually from the hip or pelvis). Fusing the joint stops movement or slipping between the vertebrae and you may also have rods or screws to keep the spine in place while the bones fuse.

How successful is it?

For around 65-80 per cent of people the results are good or excellent although in around 16 per cent of cases there is a chance of increased pain.

How long does it take to recover?

If you have had decompression and fusion, you may need to stay in hospital for a few days; some people may need to wear a brace to support their back for up to three months. Your specialist will encourage you to start walking as soon as possible and will give you a targeted rehabilitation programme to build up strength and flexibility.

When can I return to work?

Most people can return to a desk-based job after a few weeks and get back to normal activities around three months later.

When can I return to sport?

In most cases, you will be able to gradually return to sport from around six months after your operation.

Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.