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Cervical Fusion: Spinal Fusion Surgery of the Neck

What is Cervical Fusion?

Cervical fusion is a type of spinal fusion surgery. As with a lumbar spinal fusion, a cervical fusion involves “fusing” (or joining) bones together.

saratoga spine cervical fusion spinal fusion surgeryJoint pain in any part of the body can be a result of injury, arthritis, inflammation, bone spurs, normal aging of the joint’s components, etc. Often, this pain will worsen with movement of the joint. Fusing a joint immobilizes it, thereby minimizing the patient’s pain.

In a cervical fusion, two or more vertebrae in the neck are fused together to prevent movement. This can be done to reduce pain associated with bone rubbing on bone, pressure on the spinal cord or to prevent damage to the spinal cord after an injury.

How do they Perform Neck Surgery?

Depending on your injuries and anatomy your spine surgeon may choose to perform cervical spinal fusion in a few different ways. Here are a few examples of how they may perform this bone fusion1:

  • A bone graft can be placed between two or more vertebrae to help the bones grow together. This graft may be taken from another part of your body, from a donor or may be artificial.
  • Metal implants (ie: plates, screws, etc) may be used to help hold the bone together while it is growing (fusing).
  • In some situations a vertebrae may be removed prior to the fusion. This is called a Cervical Corpectomy.
  • A cervical disc (the shock absorbing material between vertebrae) may be removed prior to the fusion. This is called a Cervical Discectomy.

What is the Recovery Time for Neck Surgery?

Patients who’ve had this type of neck surgery are usually up and walking around the day of the surgery and released the next day.  Depending on the case, your doctor may recommend you wear a soft or hard collar immediately following the surgery. Most patients can return to work within 2 to 6 weeks, depending on their circumstances and type of job.

References

  1. WebMD
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery