Spinal Fusion

Patrick S. McNulty, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

McNulty Spine

Patrick S. McNulty, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Spine Surgeon located in Henderson, NV & Las Vegas, NV

Spinal fusion surgery is an option to correct a wide range of spine problems ranging from degenerative conditions, to fractures, to scoliosis, to kyphosis, to spondylolisthesis. At McNulty Spine, in Las Vegas, Patrick S. McNulty, MD, FABSS, FABOS, a double board-certified and award-winning orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist, performs state-of-the-art spinal fusion procedures to reconstruct your spine and alleviate pain. If you’re looking for an experienced spine surgeon, call McNulty Spine or make an appointment online today.

Spinal Fusion

What is spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that creates stability in your spine by fusing (make a solid connection between) vertebrae together. 

Depending on your needs, Dr. McNulty may fuse two or more vertebrae together. The surgery eliminates movement between your vertebrae as well as stretching of the surrounding muscles, connective tissue, and nerves. Dr. McNulty can perform the simplest one level fusion procedure, to fusing your entire thoracic and lumbar spine to your pelvis.  He can also fuse the base of your head to your neck if needed as well (occipitocervical fusion).

Why would I need spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is a treatment option for a variety of back or neck problems, including:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Kyphosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Fractured vertebra
  • Herniated discs
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Loss of lordosis in the neck or low back

 

Dr. McNulty provides a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose your spine problems and identify the best treatment to correct them. 

If you have neck pain, back pain, spinal deformity, or weakness, numbness, or tingling in your arms or legs, schedule a consultation at McNulty Spine to identify the root condition causing your symptoms.

What happens during spinal fusion?

Dr. McNulty offers several types of open and minimally invasive spinal fusion procedures, including:

  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Facet fusion
  • Laminectomy with fusion
  • Lumbar interbody fusion
  • Pedicle screw fixation
  • TILF (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion)
  • Occipitocervical fixation
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion


Dr. McNulty provides effective general anesthesia with intraoperative neurologic monitoring to ensure a smooth and safe procedure. Your bone graft source typically is a combination of your own stem cells and synthetic bone crystalline material.  This avoids any issues of large bone harvest from your own body.

Dr. McNulty performs spinal fusion procedures on all parts of the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower) spine.  Dr. McNulty is also excellent at extending his fusion reconstructions to the occiput (head) or the pelvis when indicated.

The spinal fusion procedure is a procedure where instrumentation (metal rods and screws) connects to your spine, and holds it in the desired position while bone graft material connects and fuses the vertebra together.  Dr. McNulty will use minimally invasive and/or standard open techniques to expose the spine and achieve this.

Then using metal rods and screws/cable band anchors, Dr. McNulty secures your spine and eliminates movement while the graft fuses and connects your vertebrae together. This is like gluing 2 pieces of wood together, using a clamp to keep things still and compressed until the glue sets.

What should I expect while recovering from spinal fusion?

Dr. McNulty provides customized aftercare instructions following your spinal fusion procedure. You will need to wear a brace to help keep your spine still while your vertebrae join together. He will also prescribe medication to manage any post-surgical pain. You are typically allowed to get your incisions wet in the shower one week after surgery.  Dr. McNulty encourages you to be active, especially low impact activity.  You may even be able to drive within 2-3 weeks, with the exception of cervical procedures. Depending on your condition, you begin physical therapy 6-12 weeks following your surgery.

The fusion process continues to mature and strengthen for up to 3 years. So while your surgical pain subsides, you will need to attend physical therapy to learn how to move correctly and rebuild strength and flexibility in the muscles that support your spine. He will also ask you to continue high dose vitamin D and calcium essentially for your entire life.  A common reason for spine problems down the road is weak bone.  Also, a common reason for failed spine surgery is failed fusion.  High-dose calcium and vitamin D prevents this. 

Dr. McNulty will also encourage you to adopt a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, emphasizing low-impact cardio and core strengthening.  This helps you to do well from your spine surgery, as well as keep you healthy and happy.

If you’re looking for an expert spine surgeon to perform spinal fusion, call McNulty Spine or schedule a consultation online today.