360 Back & Spine Center Specializes in Neck Fusion Surgery
Led by an experienced orthopedic spine surgeon, Melanie Kinchen, M.D., our spine surgery center offers cervical neck fusion surgery using the latest technologies and procedures. We use advanced diagnostic imaging techniques to determine the proper course of action. Fusing the cervical vertebrae prevents muscles, nerves, and ligaments around it from stretching and causing pain.
What Is Cervical Fusion?
Cervical fusion involves joining two or more vertebrae, thereby creating a single structure. The fused bones can no longer move independently. Your surgeon may remove a disc or bone in a complete cervical fusion. Bone grafts may come from your own body or a donor, and metal plates and screws are often used to add stability to the spine. The goal is to restore function to spinal nerves.
Why a Neck Fusion Surgery Procedure Is Performed
The conditions a surgeon can treat with surgery include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal bone fracture
- Herniated disc
- Bone spurs
- Scoliosis, or abnormal spinal curvature
- Forward shifting of a spinal disc
- Spinal infection
If cervical deformities are present, the flexibility of the neck can leave one vulnerable to further injury. The more severe the injury, the more likely the spinal cord may be damaged, causing paralysis.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Anterior fusion of the cervical spine is a common way of fusing cervical vertebrae. While posterior fusion involves the surgeon going in from the back, anterior cervical fusion surgery approaches the disc from the front. Operating through the front of the neck provides direct access to the disc, causing stenosis, nerve compression, and associated symptoms. A surgeon can access nearly the entire surgical spine; the surgery generally involves the following steps:
- A horizontal incision is made on the left or right side of the neck along a skin crease.
- For multi-level (multi-vertebrae) surgeries, a vertical incision may be made.
- The surgeon cuts the muscle layer under the skin, in line with the incision.
- The surgeon enters a plane between the trachea/esophagus and carotid sheath.
- The fascia covering the spine is cut away.
- The disc is removed, along with cartilage over the vertebral bones.
- The cervical spinal canal is decompressed.
- Bone grafts or an implant cage are inserted into the disc space.
- To add stability, a plate is often screwed to the front of the spine.
What to Expect with Cervical Fusion Discectomy
Hospitalization time depends on many factors and ranges from outpatient stays to several days or a week. You will receive an IV for fluids, antibiotics, and pain medicine, as well as a urinary catheter. Most patients are required to remain still for a few days as their spine heals. Spinal x-rays will determine how you are healing, while getting out of bed, into a chair, and walking will require therapy.
Most patients are able to return to normal activities within a few weeks, but complete healing may not occur for a year or maybe up to 18 months. Stick to any therapy protocol a doctor recommends and avoid bending, twisting, or lifting anything heavy.
Cervical Fusion from 360 Back & Spine Center
We offer a comprehensive range of treatment options for the back and neck. Patients entrust Dr. Melanie Kinchen with anterior and minimally invasive procedures for a variety of conditions. For information on treatment in Grapevine or Fort Worth, and to schedule an appointment, call us today at 682-223-1406.