A cervical spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that is performed to join neck vertebrae. There are various methods used for this procedure and will depend on the individual problem of each patient. These methods include using bone substitutes to fuse the vertebrae. In some instances a plate and screws are placed for additional stability. A cervical fusion can be done either through the anterior (front) or posterior (back) of the neck. Your surgeon will advise as to what will suit your situation. Cervical spinal fusion surgery is done for primarily for degenerative disease but can also performed for a number of reasons including serious injury to the neck which without some form of stabilisation may result in paralysis, realigning misaligned vertebrae and as method of treating an infection, spinal deformities or tumours.
The patient will be placed under general anaesthetic for the procedure and will be positioned according to the nature of the procedure. The procedure involves an incision being made in the neck. The location of this incision will depend on whether the procedure is an anterior or posterior operation. The muscles are carefully dissected in order for the vertebrae to be exposed. The surgeon then uses a microscope and removes the damaged disc or protruding disc (due to bone spurs) and fills the space with either a bone graft. The insertion of the graft facilitates the two bones to fuse together in order to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
The fusion. Most patients stay for 2 days in hospital . Overall recovery from this procedure is between 2 and 4 weeks. No bed rest is advised and patients are encouraged to mobilise. A neck brace is normally indicated if trauma was the cause. Patients can drive after a month.