By age 65, more than half of us will have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis, a disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones at the joints breaks down and bony overgrowth occurs. For many, the result is stiffness and pain in the joint.
Although osteoarthritis (or OA) is more common as we age, it is not an inevitable part of aging. As researchers work to understand the causes of osteoarthritis, they are able to offer advice to help prevent the disease or its progression and lessen...
Joint fusion of the spine is used as a treatment for severe pain caused by a variety of back problems such as a herniated disc or a tumor.
How Is Joint Fusion Surgery Performed?
There are different ways to perform joint fusion surgery:
Bone can be taken from another part of the body or from a bone bank and placed in between the two bones being fused to stimulate the fusion. This is called a bone graft.
Implants of metal plates, screws, or wires can be used to close the joint and position the bones next to each other. Over time, the body heals the bones to become one. Occasionally, a bone graft is needed to aid healing.
What Are the Benefits of Joint Fusion Surgery?
While a fused joint loses flexibility, it can bear weight better, is more stable, and is no longer painful.
What Are the Risks of Joint Fusion Surgery?
The risks associated with joint fusion surgery vary depending upon the person's age, overall health status, and the type of procedure that is being performed. Risks include:
Pain at the site of bone fusion
Failure of the fusion and/or breakage of metal implants