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Spinal Fusion Specialist

Surgical Spine Associates

Eugene A Bonaroti, MD, FACS

Board Certified Neurological Spine Surgeon with locations in Irwin, Cranberry, and Washington, PA

A spinal fusion may serve as your primary treatment, but it’s most often used to stabilize your spine after removing a damaged disc or part of a vertebra. No matter what spine problem requires a spinal fusion, you can count on the extensive experience of neurosurgeon Eugene Bonaroti, MD, FACS, at Surgical Spine Associates. Dr. Bonaroti performs minimally invasive surgery to fuse the vertebrae, safely and effectively relieving your back pain. To learn if you’re a good candidate for a spinal fusion, call one of the offices in Irwin, Cranberry, or Fox Chapel, or book an appointment online.

Spinal Fusion Q & A

What is a spinal fusion?

A spinal fusion is a surgical procedure to connect two or more vertebrae. The purpose of a fusion is to stabilize your spine and relieve pain caused by spine conditions.

The procedure uses a bone graft to promote new bone growth between the two vertebrae, allowing them to develop into one strong vertebral bone.

The fusion prevents movement between the vertebrae. However, it involves a small segment of your spine, so it has minimal impact on your overall ability to move.

When might I need a spinal fusion?

Dr. Bonaroti may perform a spinal fusion as part of your treatment for a variety of conditions including:

  • Herniated disc
  • Vertebral fracture
  • Spinal tumor
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal infection

A fusion may be the primary treatment for conditions such as scoliosis. In most other conditions, however, Dr. Bonaroti performs the fusion after a minimally invasive procedure to repair the underlying problem.

What happens during a spinal fusion?

Dr. Bonaroti performs spinal fusions using minimally invasive surgery, which means he makes small incisions and uses specialized surgical instruments that fit through narrow tubes. 

During a spinal fusion, Dr. Bonaroti first repairs any underlying problems, such as decompressing nerves and removing damaged discs and bone spurs. Then he inserts a bone graft between the two vertebrae being fused together.

A bone graft may consist of a piece of living bone. However, Dr. Bonaroti often uses advanced technology, such as a specially designed titanium cage. 

The titanium cage is filled with materials that promote bone growth between the two vertebrae. Dr. Bonaroti then places the cage in the space between the vertebrae, and as each one grows over the cage, they gradually fuse into one strong bone.

What surgical procedures are done to perform a spinal fusion?

These are a few examples of the spinal fusion procedures that Dr. Bonaroti frequently performs:

  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF)
  • Lumbar corpectomy and fusion
  • Posterior cervical fusion
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Cervical corpectomy and fusion
  • Thoracic fusion

An interbody fusion refers to removing the disc before fusing the spine, while a corpectomy is a procedure to remove all or part of a vertebra that’s compressing nerves.

Anterior and posterior refer to approaching the spine from either the front or back of your body, respectively. A lateral incision approaches the spine from the side.

What cutting-edge technology supports spinal fusions?

Dr. Bonaroti stays up to date with the latest technology, improving your results by using the latest spinal fusion devices. 

Two examples include:

Stryker’s Tritanium® fusion devices

Stryker® produces 3D-printed spinal fusion cages for the lumbar spine or lower back. Their cages combine solid and porous titanium materials that support the spine and allow for optimal bone growth, as new bone cells infiltrate and attach to the cage.

Centinel Spine® No-Profile® Anterior Lumbar Integrated Interbody System

This device, which gained notoriety as the Tiger Woods procedure, is a textured titanium cage used to perform an ALIF. In addition to supporting your spine and promoting bone growth, its cage and screw system maintains spinal structure by fitting within the vertebral body.

If you have a spine condition that may benefit from a spinal fusion, call the experts at Surgical Spine Associates or book an appointment online.