Spinal Fusion

What are the risks of spinal fusion?

A Answers (4)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Risks of Spinal Fusion
    Spinal fusion surgery for lower back pain has significant risks, including infection, bleeding, nerve injury, severe pain, and the need for repeat operations. Watch the video for more on spinal fusion.

  • AHooman M. Melamed, MD, Neurosurgery, answered
    The risks of spinal fusion depend on age, overall medical condition of the patient, and the type of surgery.  Some of the risks include, but are not limited to, infection, bleeding, nerve/muscle/tendon/ligament damage, paralysis, pain, numbness, deformity, loss or decreased range of motion, bowel/bladder dysfunction, dural tear, revision surgery, pseudoarthrosis, hardware failure, malpositioning of hardware, blindness, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and death. However, most of the time the benefits of the surgery far out weigh the risks of surgery.  My own father had a very successful spinal fusion back surgery and has done extremely well.
  • ARomesh Nalliah, Dentist, answered

    As with any surgical intervention there are risks to spinal fusion surgery. Those risks have been thoroughly described by other writers. However, two additional complications can arise. Firstly, pseudoarthrosis can occur which is when there is unsuccessful fusion of the vertebrae. There may be a fibrous union between spinal vertebrae but this is insufficient to limit movement. Secondly, symptoms may recur despite surgery because the success rate is not 100%.

  • AHealthwise answered

    The risks of this surgery depend on your age and overall health, what you're having the surgery for and the type of procedure you have.

    Risks include:

    • Pain at the bone graft site.
    • Failure of the fusion, breakage of metal implants or both.
    • Blood clots that may also lead to pulmonary embolism.
    • Nerve injury.
    • Graft rejection.
    • Infection.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

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