SURGERY OF THE SPINE
Back problems may make it difficult for you to perform daily activities and may affect your ability to move freely. You may even feel pain while resting or lying down.
Medication, changes in daily activity and exercise may all play a role in improving your mobility and relieving your pain. Most low back pain problems, such as that caused by improper lifting, will disappear in a few days or weeks with care that doesn't require surgery.
Other pain, caused by the wear-and-tear of daily living that affects the vertebrae and disks in your back, may require surgery. You and your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the best treatment for you.
The most commonly performed operation for back pain has been spinal fusion. There are a variety of ways this is done but the basic principle is to take the painful segment of the spine and have it become a solid piece of bone. Spinal fusion can be done through the back (posterior) or through the front (anterior), or sometimes both ways.
Spinal fixation of some sort is often combined with some form of bone graft or bone substitute. Bone graft can either be obtained from another part of the skeleton such as the pelvis (autograft) or be donated bone that is processed and used in a spine fusion (allograft). The results of spine fusion for low back pain vary. A good result is a decrease in pain. It is very rare for someone to be completely out of pain after a spine fusion. Full recovery can take more than a year.