Spinal Fusion Specialist

Kenneth I. Light, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Spine Specialist located in Bay Area, San Leandro, CA including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Fremont, California

Spinal fusion is a surgery that can restore your spine’s function and permanently end your pain. Dr. Kenneth I. Light, MD, a leading orthopedic surgeon in San Leandro and the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco, California, performs next-generation spinal fusion surgery to ensure optimal results. You can learn more about spinal fusion through a consultation with Dr. Light, so call the office nearest you or click the online link.

Spinal Fusion Q & A

What is spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is a specialized surgery that permanently connects two spinal vertebrae. There are several different methods of spinal fusion, but the core concept is to eliminate the pain trigger by preventing movement between two vertebrae.  

When would I need spinal fusion surgery?

Dr. Light might recommend spinal fusion surgery if you have chronic back problems, including low back pain, or neck issues that don't improve after conservative treatments. Some of the most common reasons for spinal fusion include: 

  • Herniated discs
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal tumors
  • Vertebral fractures

In some failed back surgeries, the problem is a failed vertebral fusion. Dr. Light is a failed back surgery expert who can expertly correct the original fusion and stabilize your vertebrae. 

Dr. Light uses X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and other imaging to determine whether spinal fusion surgery could be a good fit for you. He doesn’t turn patients away, even if they have complex needs or a history of failed treatment. 

If spinal fusion surgery won’t work for you, Dr. Light can tailor another surgical procedure for your needs.

How does spinal fusion surgery work?

Dr. Light performs both cervical (neck area) and lumbar (low back area) spinal fusion surgeries. He may operate through front incisions (anterior approach) or back incisions (posterior approach). Dr. Light typically uses an advanced method, the Simmons Keystone technique, for spinal fusion surgery. 

With this technique, Dr. Light creates a trapezoid-shaped opening in your damaged vertebrae. Then, using bone shaving he harvests from your hip bone, Dr. Light plugs the empty spot. In some cases, he may use internal fixation devices, like pins, screws, and plates, to help your vertebrae fuse successfully.

Because spinal fusion surgery permanently connects two vertebrae, it stops the interaction causing your low back pain, neck pain, or other problems. 

How long is recovery after spinal fusion surgery?

Recovery from spinal fusion surgery is quite rapid because Dr. Light uses the most advanced techniques possible. 

In general, most patients can get back to their regular routines in only a few weeks. Dr. Light has patients who are professional athletes, like ballet dancers, who returned to their sport in just three weeks. 

Call the office of Dr. Kenneth I. Light, MD, or book a consultation online to learn how spinal fusion surgery can help you.