I have pain in my lower back caused by spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebrae in the lower spine). I will be undergoing fusion surgery, and I've been doing some research on the procedure. I've read that some doctors like to use a pedicle screw. Would a pedicle screw improve my results after surgery?

Probably not. Fusion surgery can effectively relieve the pain of your condition. Pedicle screws are sometimes used in fusion surgery, but most studies suggest that they don't add benefits for people with spondylolisthesis.

The pedicle screw is inserted in the bony point--the pedicle--that connects the ring of bone around the spinal canal to the vertebral body. The theory behind pedicle screws is that extra fixation will help the fusion heal more effectively. In fact, using a pedicle screw involves higher risks during the surgery. The surgery takes longer, and patients lose more blood during surgery. Research suggests that pedicle screws don't show better fusion success or have any benefits in easing pain or getting patients with spondylolisthesis back to their activities.