With complex spine surgery, six or more vertebrae are fused. Depending on number of vertebra and other contributing factors, surgery may take four or more hours and be done in one day.  Or it might take much longer and be done in two parts on two separate days.

A complex spine surgery procedure requires the surgeon to access the spine through a long incision down the back. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the “lamina”, the part of the vertebra that sticks out from the spine. The physician will place bone grafts between the vertebra, and use titanium rods, bolts, and screws to hold the vertebra together. The hardware stabilizes the spine and holds everything in place for healing. As the spine heals over the next several months, the bone grafts fuse with the spine to form solid bone.

Complex spine surgeries are those that:

  • Involve six or more vertebrae in the spine
  • Require four or more hours of surgery

People considering this type of surgery have spinal deformities or major curvatures from scoliosis or kyphosis, spinal tumors, or severe spinal trauma. Complex spine surgery includes those patients with previous surgery that are undergoing revision surgery.

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