Posterior Cervical Fusion is one of the most widely used surgical solutions addressing neck disorders, pathologies, and injuries. It can improve spinal instability, pain and degeneration caused by fractures, tumors, deformity and infection. This surgery is performed from the posterior (from the back) approach. This permits the surgeon direct access to the cervical spine.
Prior to this procedure, bone graft will be taken and later placed between two fused vertebrae. This is the molding, allowing the two separate bones to fuse into a uniform entity. The graft is obtained from one of two sources: the pelvis, or a bone bank. Allograft refers to donated bone tissue, while autograft describes harvested bone. Autograft is taken from the pelvis during the time of surgery.
During a posterior cervical fusion procedure, your surgeon will create an incision at the back of the neck. All fascia and muscle tissue are moved to the side, creating space for surgical viewing and instrumentation. Two small screws and an adjoining rod are strategically placed on either side of the spine bone, generating an ideal location for the bone graft . Surgical instrumentation such as plates and screws are commonly used to hold the fused vertebrae in place, increasing stability and allowing the bone graft to heal.
Recovery is a process, lasting weeks to months. Patients are commonly discharged from the hospital after 3-5 days, however safe transportation from the hospital is recommended. Physical therapy and exercise are often prescribed a number of weeks following this procedure. Heaving lifting, twisting, and strain to the cervical neck region must be restricted for several weeks following surgery in order to ensure recovery.
Sometimes a laminectomy (the surgical removal of the lamina section of the bone) or foraminotomy (removal of bone spurs near the area of the spine where nerves exit the spine bone) are performed in conjunction with a posterior cervical fusion in order to improve results.