Back fusion likely refers to spinal fusion surgery, which Mayo Clinic explains is a form of treatment used for patients who require assistance healing spinal vertebrae due to injury or complications arising from a disease. Examples of such instances include scoliosis, kyphosis, broken vertebrae, spondylolisthesis, herniated disks, spinal instability and chronic back pain. During the procedure, surgeons implant materials between vertebrae that mimic bones to improve spinal structure.
Spinal fusions are not without their drawbacks, as they commonly decrease the range of movement in patients and can cause the area around the implants to degenerate at a faster rate than usual, notes Mayo Clinic. This is because the site of the fusion is no longer able to bend and move as it normally would in a healthy spine, which places the burden of flexibility on the surrounding vertebrae.
Spinal fusion incisions are made in various areas of the body depending on the location of the surgery on the vertebrae. In some cases, a surgeon may elect to take a bone graft directly from the patient's pelvic bone to fuse into the vertebrae. According to Mayo Clinic, this is commonly done during the same procedure as the spinal fusion. Additional pieces are used to meld the bone graft into the vertebrae, such as rods, screws and metal plates.