Cervical fusion involves bonding together bones in the neck to add stabilization or correct misalignments. At Austin Neurosurgical Institute, accredited neurological surgeon Thomas Loftus, MD, FAANS, recommends cervical fusion for patients to reduce neck pain and associated nerve pain. Call the Austin, Texas, office today to set up an appointment to find out more about cervical fusion and whether you might be a candidate, or use the online tool to schedule an appointment today.
During a minimally invasive cervical fusion, Dr. Loftus permanently connects vertebrae in the upper spine or cervical region. He uses bone grafts to eliminate space between the bones and create one solid bone unit.
Neck pain often occurs due to degenerative changes in the discs that sit between each of your vertebrae. Usually, non-surgical treatments, like pain medications and physical therapy, are enough to manage this pain. If non-surgical treatments aren’t successful, however, a cervical fusion may be an option.
Dr. Loftus might recommend cervical fusion to remove pressure from the nerve roots caused by bone spurs or disc herniation. A cervical fusion can also stop painful motion between two of your cervical vertebrae. Conditions and diseases that benefit from cervical fusion include:
A cervical fusion may also be recommended after an injury to prevent a bone fracture from causing instability or damage to the spinal cord.
During cervical fusion, Dr. Loftus first removes any damaged discs. Most often, he makes an incision at the front of your neck by your windpipe. He removes the disc and any bone spurs that are also causing irritation.
He then fills the space left by the disc with a bone graft taken from your pelvis. Sometimes, a synthetic bone graft or bone taken from a bone bank is used. Your body then starts to produce more bone cells in response to the graft, gradually growing the area into one solid block of bone.
Dr. Loftus may also implant pins, screws, or plates to encourage stabilization as the fusion occurs. He may alternatively have you wear a neck brace to keep your neck stable during healing.
While the fusion surgery reduces your symptoms of neck pain shortly after surgery, it may be several months before you can resume all of your normal activities.
To learn more about cervical fusion as an option for neck pain, call the office of Austin Neurosurgical Institute or use the online tool to book a consultation.