You’ll be taken to the operating theatre and made comfortable.
Your anaesthetist will insert an intravenous cannula into a vein to administer anaesthetic, fluid and other drugs. You’ll also have a urinary catheter, as you’ll temporarily lose control of your bladder.
For a posterior spinal fusion, you’ll be positioned on your front. For an anterior spinal fusion, you’ll lie on your back.
For anterior cervical spinal fusion surgery, you’ll lie on your back and your surgeon will make the incision in the front of your neck. For posterior cervical fusions/foraminotomy, after you’re asleep, you’ll be placed in a head clamp and on your front on a special bed frame.
With minimally-invasive lumbar fusion, several small incisions are made in your back.
After pulling back the muscles and/or organs, your surgeon looks through an operating microscope and removes the damaged discs, replacing them with a bone graft. Your surgeon may also remove part of the lamina (the bone at the back of your spine) if it’s putting pressure on your spine. The bone graft may come from your hip. Alternatively, synthetic bone graft material may be used. Metal screws and sometimes rods help to hold the bones together until they fuse.
Following surgery, your surgeon closes the incision/s using staples or stitches.
Your surgery will take between 3 - 7 hours, depending on how complex it is.