There are two types of spinal fusion procedures: Anterior Spinal Fusion and Posterior Spinal Fusion. Here you'll learn about the differences between the two as well as how each procedure works.
Anterior spinal fusion
With certain kinds of spinal curves, the correction and fusion is best done anteriorly, or from the front. This process is known as anterior spinal fusion.
How the procedure works
The front of the spine is approached from the side of the patient. An anterior approach may be indicated if the curve that needs correction is in the lower spine (thoracolumbar or lumbar curves). During this procedure, there is a discectomy (removal of the disc) stabilizing the spine with screws and rods, and adding bone graft which provides the eventual fusion. This is a highly successful way of correcting a child’s spine deformity and obtaining good spinal balance with a shorter fused segment.
Ensuring the best outcomes
As with posterior spinal fusion and instrumentation, an anterior procedure is a complex surgery and not without risks. Monitoring of the nerves is performed throughout the procedure by a specially trained staff member. A blood transfusion may also be required during or after surgery. Pain after surgery is controlled by our pain management team. Total hospitalization is usually 3-4 days with a possible overnight stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.