Spinal instrumentation is also known as spinal implants, devices or hardware, and uses surgical procedures to implant titanium, titanium-alloy, stainless steel, or non-metallic devices into the spine. Instrumentation provides a permanent solution to spinal instability. There are many different types, shapes and sizes of medical implants designed specifically to treat spinal disorders in people of all ages.
Spinal instrumentation is usually performed with spinal fusion because it helps maintain spinal stability while facilitating the process of bone fusion. These procedures are used to restore stability to the spine, treat spinal deformity (such as scoliosis), and bridge space created by the removal of a spinal element (eg, intervertebral disc) during a spinal decompression procedure.
Both procedures work together to immobilize the involved spinal level(s). This does not necessarily mean the patient is unable to move. Many patients report that they actually feel more mobile because their pain has been reduced or eliminated as a result of spinal fusion surgery. Consult with a pain specialist if you have any of these problems.
Examples of spinal implants include:
- Pedicle screws
- Expandable cages
- Artificial discs
- Interspinous stabilization devices (designed to fit between your spinous processes in the back of your spine)
- Vertebral body tethering
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint fixation devices
- Interbody devices (cage-like structures that support bones, either between bones or in place of them, while new bone growth occurs through and around them)
Conditions that Use Instrumentation:
- spinal weakness or instability
- spinal stenosis
- herniated discs
- degenerative disc disease
- fractured vertebrae that may be making your spinal column unstable
- scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
- kyphosis (abnormal rounding of the upper spine)
- spinal weakness or instability due to severe arthritis, tumors, or infections
- spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips onto the vertebra below it, causing severe pain)
Consult with a pain specialist if you have any of these symptoms or conditions.