Posterior cervical fusion is a surgical procedure performed to stabilize the cervical spine and relieve pain in the upper region of the back. The cervical spine starts at the base of the skull, connects to the upper back at shoulder level, and is composed of seven vertebrae. The cervical spine performs several crucial functions, including protecting the spinal cord, supporting the head and its movements, and facilitating blood flow to the brain.
Injury or disease in the cervical spine is an extremely serious condition because it affects vital functions to the brain, neck, and spine. The discs and joints between the vertebrae can become congenitally deformed or damaged due to injury, leading to pain and mobility issues. Initially, these issues are treated with conservative methods such as analgesics and physical therapy. Surgery is only contemplated if conservative methods have not been successful.
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A posterior cervical fusion procedure is necessary when the upper spine suffers a fracture or other substantial damage that has destabilized the area. The most common reason for the procedure is a fracture to one of the vertebrae in the neck due to traumatic injury. This procedure may be performed on individuals experiencing excessive motion between the cervical spine vertebrae or to correct a spinal abnormality. During a cervical fusion, two or more damaged vertebrae are fused, increasing spinal stability and decreasing pain that developed because of the misaligned cervical movements.
Posterior cervical fusion is performed from the back, with the patient face down on the operating table. The patient is under general anesthesia. The surgeon can approach the damaged vertebrae by making an incision in the midline of the back of the neck. Once the surgeon locates the targeted region of the spine, the damaged tissue, whether degenerated disc material, bone spurs, or other debris, is removed. After removing the damage, the surgeon attaches a bone graft to each affected vertebrae allowing them to grow together over time.
Although posterior cervical fusion is safe like all medical procedures, it has risks. Risks associated with posterior cervical fusion include:
While there are risks associated with this procedure, an experienced spine surgeon will know how to handle your condition should any complications arise.
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At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our surgeons offer an expert diagnosis and tailored treatment plans. Our doctors understand that every condition and person is unique and requires a personalized treatment plan. Our experienced and board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic specialists work together to treat spine and back disorders with the least invasive approach possible. NJSO spine surgeons have extensive training and experience in performing minimally invasive procedures. We pride ourselves in our patient-centered care and helping our patients return to their quality of life. You can schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons today by calling (866) 272-9271 or filling out our contact form.
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