New spinal fusion procedure reduces risks

A pioneering, minimally-invasive form of spinal fusion surgery can help to reduce the risks associated with the procedure.

Around 5,000 patients with lower back pain undergo spinal fusion surgery each year, which involves two of the vertebrae being effectively bolted together.

Until recently, the best method for surgeons was the conventional disc fusion, although this is a lengthy, relatively risky procedure.

"The new technique is minimally invasive and minimally traumatic and has been carried out in America for five years," revealed Andrew Quaile, orthopaedic surgeon at the Hampshire Clinic.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "It will take off rapidly here because it's a shorter operation with fewer risks.

"This procedure takes about 45 minutes compared to two and a half hours for conventional surgery."

The procedure, which is currently only available through private treatment in the UK, involves making a one-inch incision between the buttocks, drilling through the two vertebrae and removing the degenerated disc.

The surgeon then fills the empty space with a paste to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other, and anchors the two vertebrae together with a bolt.

In the US, where the procedure has been widely adopted, it is often conducted as day surgery, although a short stay is recommended in the UK.

Joanna Linton, who recently became the first patient in Britain to undergo the new form of surgery, told the Daily Mail: "The great thing is that there are far fewer risks. There are no major blood vessels or nerves in the way and the recovery is faster."

Ms Linton added that she hopes to return to work within six weeks and is looking forward to getting her life back.


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New spinal fusion procedure reduces risks
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