A surgical procedure joining two or more spinal vertebrae. This is usually performed in order to stabilize the spine and/or take pressure off of nerves. Most often one or more discs are removed and replaced with bone graft (either from a bone bank or the patient’s iliac crest). Metal screws and rods or a plate may also be used to help stabilize the spine while the fusion becomes solid.

Foramen (Intervertebral foramen)

The hole created when two vertebrae are placed together. As a spinal nerve branches from the spinal cord it travels in the spinal canal and exits through this hole.

Foley Catheter

A tube placed thru the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine.

Flexion-Extension X-rays

Done to determine the quality of motion and alignment of the spine. They can also help diagnose a spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra over another). While standing, the patient is asked to bend forward, with a rounded back, as far as possible. As the patient holds this position, an x-ray is taken.  This is then repeated with the patient bending their back backwards. Patients are asked to go to the limit of motion in bending both forward and backward in order to obtain accurate information. The exam takes approximately 10 minutes.

Facet Joints

The small joints in the back of the spine where two vertebrae overlap one another. They function to guide and restrict movement of the spine. These joints are lined by cartilage, lubricated by synovial fluid, and surrounded by a capsule. They are a common cause of neck/back pain as they become arthritic (loss of articular cartilage in the joint).

Facet Block

A diagnostic and therapeutic procedure done to determine how much pain is coming from the facet joint. Patients with pain from their facets may obtain pain relief with this procedure.