The study of the spine in medicine is a rapidly evolving field. There have been fantastic advances in implants, procedures and the tools we use every day to repair or improve spinal conditions. Probably the most important of these advances in the last thirty years has been the introduction of the pedicle screw. This operating tool allows immediate stabilization of the spine which makes spine surgery much less painful than it was in the past, with much more certain and sure recovery.
The goal of most spinal surgeries is to alleviate pain. One of the most common types of these surgeries is spinal fusion -the leading surgery in pain reduction. Spinal fusion surgery is exactly what it sounds like. During this procedure, our doctors fuse together the vertebrae on both sides of a joint in the spine. This procedure allows the bones to come together, totally stopping the motion in the spine that is causing pain. Pedicle screws make this procedure far less painful for the patient, and far easier on the doctor.
Here’s How it Works:
Pedicle screws are extremely helpful during spinal surgeries and the healing process because they stabilize the spine. Pedicle screws are named for the bone they are inserted through, the pedicle bone. The pedicle screw is inserted through the pedicle and into the vertebral body. This is done on either side of the spine. These screws are then attached to metal rods that completely stabilize the spine. This creates an internal brace that keeps the spine completely still so healing can happen faster, and with few complications due to movement.
While the process sounds scary, pedicle screws actually decrease pain and increase time to heal after spinal surgery. This advance in spinal medicine has been wonderful for our doctors and patients alike. If you’d like to know more about the use of pedicle screws here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, please click this link to view a short video from our very own Dr. Fuller.