Spinal fusion

Spinal fusion is a broad term to denote the joining of two or more adjacent vertebral segments. Fusion can be congenital or acquired as a direct result of disease or deliberately following spinal surgery. 

Fusion of two or more adjacent segments is encountered either as an isolated, usually incidental, finding or in a variety of conditions with multiple other defects. 

Many disease processes can result in fusion of adjacent vertebrae including: 

Numerous procedures have been developed over the years to fuse spinal segments to treat a variety of conditions (e.g. spondylolisthesis, unstable spinal fractures, disc protrusions). It should be noted that it is osseous fusion than confers long-term stability and that fusion solely with instrumentation will eventually fail 1.

A number of components are used to achieve fusion. These include 1

  • connecting rods
  • Hartshill rectangles
  • interbody spacers/cages
  • laminar hooks
  • plates
  • screws
    • pedicle screws 
    • facet joint screws
    • translaminar screws
  • vertebral body replacement devices
  • wires

One or more of the above-mentioned components can be utilized to achieve fusion. Some of the more common procedures include:

Article information

rID: 59809
System: Spine
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Congenital isolated fusion
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Klippel-Feil syndrome
    Drag here to reorder.
  • PLIF
    Drag here to reorder.
  • ACDF
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.