Spinal fusion: consequences of spondylodesis

In times of many unnecessary spinal surgeries, second opinions are becoming more and more important. Our interdisciplinary team of specialists works together to find the best possible treatment for you.

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Spondylodesis is performed in orthopedics when the instability of the spine cannot be corrected with conservative measures or with a spinal fusion. dynamic stabilization can be improved. Stiffening of the spine in certain sections of the back causes concern for many patients. Actually, our spine is made to be moved. This mobility is limited by stiffening. For patients, however, such an operation usually means a significant reduction in severe pain and other complaints.

When does a spondylodesis have to be performed??

An unstable spine can no longer fulfill its actual task. It does not keep the patient’s body upright, but rather becomes an obstacle in everyday life. If the instability of the spine continues to increase, a fusion is often a sensible medical treatment. In the context of some diseases, the risk of an unstable spine is significantly increased:

  • Wear and tear of the intervertebral discs (herniated disc, etc).)
  • Arthrosis of the vertebral joints
  • Vertebral body fractures
  • Tumors in the area of the spine
  • Scoliosis

Late effects& Complications of spondylodesis

Surgical methods are now very advanced. Nevertheless, a stiffening of the cervical spine, thoracic spine or lumbar spine represented a major intervention. With the help of a screw-rod system and small plates, the unstable sections of the spine are stabilized. Adjacent vertebrae and other structures are spared in the best possible way. Nevertheless, late effects and risks cannot be ruled out.

Pain, numbness and tingling in adjacent areas

Some patients report sudden pain in the abdomen, legs, hips, or arms shortly after surgery. Sometimes several years pass before complaints appear. Postoperative pain is not a complication in the strict sense, but is due to the surgery itself. Usually patients receive sufficient pain medication after this major surgery. However, in case of very severe pain after spondylodesis, you should always consult your attending physician. Slight numbness or tingling in the extremities may be due to swelling after surgery. When treating the HSW and BWS, the arms are typically affected. In the case of a stiffening in the area of the lumbar spine, on the other hand, the legs. How long pain persists after surgery varies from patient to patient. In most cases, this depends on how quickly the vertebrae fuse together and spinal instability is eliminated.

If symptoms suddenly occur after several years, patients should always consult a medical specialist. Sometimes the stiffening of the spine results in compensatory strains. This means that the patient wants to compensate for the limited flexibility of the spine by taking it easy or changing the posture. The body goes along with this for a long time – at some point, however, the adjacent structures, such as muscles, tendons and joints are so overloaded that pain can develop. A targeted, individually tailored physiotherapy or. Physiotherapy helps patients to bring the body and muscles back into balance.

Spondylodesis: Loose screws after surgery

In rare cases, the screws that connect the vertebrae can become loose. The cause of loosened screws is insufficient adhesion of the vertebrae to each other. If the vertebral bodies continue to move against each other, the screws may gradually lose their hold. In addition to insufficient adhesion, osteoporosis also poses a risk. Due to the decreasing bone density, the screws find less hold.

Loosening of the screws is usually accompanied by severe back pain and sometimes numbness for the patient. These symptoms must be clarified in any case by an imaging control. If screws have loosened or even broken, another operation must be performed.

When can the screws be removed after surgery?

Removal of the screws and plates that stabilize the spine is not provided per se. Once patients go through life symptom-free, having another surgery to remove the screws doesn’t make sense. If, for example, an unfavorable position of the screws is shown in the CT or on X-rays, a removal or replacement of the screws is possible. a replacement may be correct. Even if structures such as intervertebral discs or nerves are distressed, action must be taken. The material used in such an operation is in most cases very well tolerated.


The best thing is to introduce yourself personally in our center in Munich Taufkirchen. Please make an appointment by telephone through our central office.


Complaints after spondylodesis are now very minor thanks to gentle surgical methods. If complaints still occur, a visit to the doctor is always advisable. Imaging can be used to check the position of the screws. Other changes can also be seen in an MRI or CT scan.

Dr. med. Schneiderhan is your expert for spine medicine. He advises and treats you at the MVZ in Taufkirchen near Munich, both conservatively and surgically. Thanks to his many years of experience, you are in safe hands with him.

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