Spinal fusion surgery is recommended for different indications, but the goal remains the same - to stop the motion at a painful motion segment. At times the spine fusion surgery is scheduled quickly and there is little time to prepare. More often, however, a spine fusion surgery is elective and there is time to plan.
Although a spine fusion surgery may be done at different levels throughout the spine (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar sections of the spine), the preoperative preparation is similar for each type of fusion.
Additional Studies Before Spine Fusion Surgery
There may be a need for additional studies prior to spine fusion surgery. These types of tests may entail:
- Radiograph to assess spinal instability
- Myelogram, MRI, or CAT scan to identify nerve compression
- EMG to test nerve function
All of these tests are done with the goal of more precisely planning the back surgery.
General Health Assessment Prior to Back Surgery
It is usually necessary to be evaluated by a medical doctor (family practitioner, internist or pediatrician) to ensure the patient is in good medical condition before proceeding with spine fusion surgery.
If there are specific preexisting medical conditions, further assessments by a specialist may also be useful (e.g., cardiologist, pulmonologist or nephrologist). It is important for patients to optimize their general health prior to a spine fusion surgery or any type of back surgery.