Arthrodesis is the fusion of vertebrae over a joint space that occurs through a natural process or as a result of surgical procedure. In surgery, arthrodesis, or fusion between two vertebrae, can be achieved by placing bone graft and/or bone graft substitute to bridge the vertebrae so that new bone grows into the spaces.

Arthrodesis immobilizes the joints at the level of the fusion. Thus, the procedure can be used to treat pain caused by the motion or instability of the spine.

If you have severe arthritis pain, your doctor may suggest that you have joint fusion surgery (also called “arthrodesis”). This procedure fuses, or “welds,” together the two bones that make up your aching joint.

It causes the bones to become one solid bone, and it can lessen your pain. It can also make your joint more stable and help you bear more weight on it.


Why is arthrodesis performed?

How Arthrodesis (Joint Fusion) Can Treat Advanced Arthritis. An arthrodesis is a surgical procedure, also called a joint fusion. In performing an arthrodesis, the goal is to permanently hold a joint in a fixed position, and allow the bone to grow across that joint.


Who are Arthrodesis Patients?

Patients that undergo a joint fusion are people how are a great deal of pain and these symptoms invades their life. Pain medications no longer work, and life is dramatically restricted. An arthrodesis is worth the loss of motion because the gain in the relief of pain is significant and the treatment is overall restoring function and life. A successful joint fusion relies on the health of the patient. Risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, steroid use, any immunocompromised condition, can increase the risk of complications like infection or a nonunion. However, the orthopedic surgeon will discuss each individual’s risks and benefits on a case-by-case basis.


Benefits and Risks of Arthrodesis

Although joint motion is eliminated when joint fusion surgery is performed, the fused joint is no longer painful, the patient can bear more weight more painlessly and typically exhibits greater function. In many instances, patients state that the cessation of unrelenting pain is worth living with somewhat limited mobility. However, as with all surgeries, certain risks are associated with arthrodesis as well.

The risks and possible negative outcomes of joint fusion surgery vary significantly from one patient to the next depending on a variety of factors. These include the person’s overall health status, his or her age, and the type of procedure the surgeon plans to perform. Risks include breakage of metal implants, failure of the fusion site, and infection. Continuing pain at the bone fusion site after surgery may also occur, although this complication is less common. Arthrodesis is generally considered a safe procedure and boasts a high success rate among most patients.

Joint fusion surgery can be done on many different joints, such as your: