Virginia Spine Institute’s response to COVID-19 outbreak.
Learn about in-office appointments & telehealth options. Click for info.

Thoracic Posterior Instrumented Fusion

A thoracic posterior instrumented fusion is a type of surgery that places screws, rods and bone within the spine in an effort to fuse the vertebrae together. The thoracic spine consists of 12 vertebrae or bones within the middle of your back. In between the thoracic vertebrae are disks that help absorb impact and space the vertebrae apart. There are a variety of reasons why we may recommend a fusion of the thoracic spine including degenerative disc disease, a disc herniation, thoracic nerve irritation (radiculopathy), thoracic spinal cord pinching (stenosis), kyphosis, scoliosis, or even a thoracic vertebrae fracture.

There are different approaches for a thoracic posterior instrumented fusion. There is the minimally invasive approach using robotic guidance to put in screws within the vertebra through small incisions. Or the traditional midline approach by exposing the anatomy so the surgeon can place the screws either free hand or using robot guided assistance.

Benefits of Thoracic Posterior Instrumented Fusion

  • Stabilizes the spine
  • Fusions may help correct deformities such as kyphosis or scoliosis 
  • May help to reduce thoracic nerve irritation
  • Realign the spine to correct normal balance

Thoracic Posterior Instrumented Fusion FAQs

What is the recovery time for a thoracic posterior instrumented fusion?

We recommend restrictions for usually around 3 months. This can include minimizing motion of the spine and a lifting restriction. Your provider will guide you through your recovery including when to start physical therapy and weaning off pain medications.

How would you monitor or track the fusion after surgery?

We get x-rays of the patient’s fusion at regular intervals post operatively to monitor the fusion and to assess the progress of the patient.

How will it affect my range of motion after surgery?

Your thoracic spine does have a small amount of range of motion but for the most part is more rigid than your neck and low back. Therefore, people with selective thoracic posterior instrumented fusions typically don’t have as much range of motion restriction as a cervical or lumbar fusion.

How long is the hospital stay after posterior instrumented thoracic fusion?

Expect a 2-4 day stay in the hospital after a thoracic fusion. It really comes down to how comfortable the patient feels afterwards to return home with family or friend help.

Meet Our Spinal Surgeons

Dr. Thomas Schuler

Spine Surgeon
Founder of Virginia Spine Institute
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Christopher Good

Spine Surgeon
President of Virginia Spine Institute

Dr. Colin Haines

Spine Surgeon
Director of Research

Dr. Ehsan Jazini

Spine Surgeon

Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today


Reviewed by: Dr. Christopher Good.