Gil Tepper, MD, FACS -  - Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Gil Tepper, MD, FACS

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon located in Sherman Oaks, CA & Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA

Bone Fusion Specialist

Dr. Gil Tepper of the Valley Spine Center, located in both Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile neighborhood and Sherman Oaks, California, is an expert in bone fusion surgery. Dr. Tepper has helped countless patients throughout the greater Los Angeles area overcome back pain and spinal problems with bone fusion surgery.

Bone Fusion Q & A

by Gil Tepper, MD, FACS

What is Spinal Fusion?

Spinal bone fusion surgery is a procedure by which two or more vertebrae of a patient’s spine or permanently connected, eliminating any motion between the fused vertebrae. The technique is designed to mimic the normal healing process that takes place with broken bones.

How is Spinal Fusion Surgery Done?

The surgeon places bone taken from another part of the patient’s body or an artificial bone-like material in the space between two vertebrae. Rods, metal plates, and screws are used to keep the vertebrae in place so they can heal as one complete unit.

Since spinal fusion surgery immobilizes parts of the spine, this surgery changes the way the spine can move. Fusion places added strain and stress on the vertebrae above and below the fused portion, and therefore may accelerate the rate at which those areas of the spine degenerate.

When Does a Person Need Spinal Fusion?

Since spinal fusion immobilizes part of the spine, this surgery offers improved stability while improving pain or correcting a deformity or reduce pain. Your physician may recommend spinal fusion for the treatment of:

  • Herniated Disc - Spinal fusion is often used to stabilize a patient’s spine after removal of a herniated or damaged disc.
  • Broken Vertebrae - Many broken vertebrae heal without treatment and do not require fusion. However, if a broken vertebra causes the spinal column to be unstable, spinal fusion surgery may be needed.
  • Spinal Deformities - Spinal deformities, such as abnormal rounding of the upper spine (kyphosis) and sideways curvature of the spine (scoliosis) can be corrected with spinal fusion.
  • Spinal Instability or Weakness - The spine sometimes becomes unstable when abnormal or excessive motion repetitively occurs between two vertebrae. This is often a side effect of severe spinal arthritis.
  • Spondylolisthesis -When one vertebra slips forward and onto the vertebra below it, the result can be a spinal disorder called spondylolisthesis. If this condition causes nerve crowding or severe back pain that produces leg numbness or pain, surgery may be indicated.

Insurance

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