Intermountain Spine and Orthopedics
David M. Christensen, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon located in Twin Falls, ID
Dr. David Christensen provides the most current state-of-the-art spinal reconstruction treatments for his patients. Spinal decompressions, fusions, and artificial disc replacements are all used where appropriate to customize treatment for each individual patient. Minimally invasive techniques are used whenever feasible and possible to minimize surgical recovery, bleeding, scarring, and discomfort.
Spine fusion Q & A
What Is Spinal Fusion?
Spinal fusion is a surgical technique used when abnormal or painful motion needs to be stabilized to improve painful symptoms. This is where one or more of the vertebrae are joined together. After the vertebrae are fused, they will no longer move against one another. Spinal fusion places bone grafts between the vertebrae. Then the body heals the grafts over several months - similar to healing a fracture - which joins the vertebrae together and makes them stable. Spinal fusion procedures can be performed anywhere on the spine including the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine. It can also be used to address scoliosis.
Why Is Cervical Fusion Needed?
Cervical fusion can be used to treat many neck problems due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae. While most neck issues do not require surgery. If conservative treatments fail to provide pain relief, Dr. Christensen may suggest a cervical fusion or artificial disc replacement. Cervical fusion or artificial disc replacement can be performed from the front of the spine; posterior cervical fusion can also be performed where and when needed. Both are used in conjunction with decompression procedures as effective ways to remove pressure from the nerve roots or spinal cord and can ease neck and arm pain.
What Conditions Require Thoracic Fusion?
One of the surgeries for chronic back pain and deformity problems is spinal fusion surgery in the thoracic region of the spine. It helps people suffering from chronic back pain or severe spinal deformities live more normal lives again. Thoracic fusion can be performed in a traditional open surgery or during a minimally invasive procedure. Dr. Christensen uses minimally invasive techniques whenever possible to be less traumatic to the patient and quicken recovery with less pain, scarring, and a lower risk of infection. Thoracic fusion joins 2 or more vertebrae together, typically with a bone graft that heals over time.
When Is Lumbar Trauma Fusion Necessary?
Common reasons for a lumbar fusion include traumatic injury vertebrae becoming unstable and moving causing nerves to be pinched, or tumors. In both cases, the spine appears unstable or prone to unusual movements. This instability can damage tissues or cause pain or deformity, due to the underlying pathology. Spinal fusion can also be performed to repair the effects of degenerative diseases, although other treatments are usually successful before spinal fusion is considered.
Insurance and Billing
We accept most major insurance plans. If you don't see your insurance, call the office and let us help you. Fees and payments: We make every effort to decrease the cost of your medical care. Therefore, we request payment arrangements for all office services at the time they are rendered unless prior arrangements have been made. We accept cash, checks, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover for your convenience. If we are a participating provider of your insurance company, we will bill them. However, payment is the patient's responsibility. We will help in any way we can to assist you in handling claims. Referrals: please bring in all paperwork or call into the office.