A cervical fusion is a type of neck operation where two or more vertebrae, which are usually separated by a disc, are allowed to grow together or “fuse” into one long bone. The purpose of a fusion is to reduce the pain created by motion of the vertebrae and to remove any disc material and or bone impinging upon a nerve root.
The incision is made through the front of the neck. It is horizontal and is approximately 1-2 inches long. During this procedure, a large portion of the disc is removed and a bone graft either from your own hip or from a donor is positioned in its place. A plate is secured to the vertebra above and below the involved disc with small screws. The hardware is put in place to stabilize the vertebrae until your own body has made enough bone to stabilize the vertebrae itself. As you heal, the graft and vertebrae will grow together to become one sold unit. The graft should be almost completely healed at 3 to 6 months. X-rays will be taken periodically to see how the graft is healing.
WARNING: Patient’s who smoke or use other tobacco products DO NOT fuse. Contact the office immediately if you need assistance to quit smoking