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Cervical Spinal Fusion

Cervical Spinal Fusion is done following an injury to the neck or during another surgical procedure, to treat herniated disks or spinal stenosis. It involves fusing the bones in the neck to give stability and support. The surgeon may use bone from another region of the patient’s body, donor bone or a man-made material to fuse the bones together.

Learn about the surgery

Patients are given a general anesthesia prior to surgery. Based on the injury or other procedures that may be also be performed, the surgeon will make an incision either in the anterior (front) or posterior (back) of the neck. If bone spurs, herniated discs or lamina are removed, this will be done first, followed by the fusion.

The bone is put in place of the removed vertebrae or discs, and metal implants are used to hold it in place. This gives the bone time to graft or grow into the existing bone, creating a strong bond. In some cases, the injury or condition may require the entire vertebra to be removed and then the spine is fused.

Following surgery, patients normally stay in the hospital for a few days to ensure that the neck is stable. Most patients are fitted with a flexible cervical collar to wear for the first six weeks. Patients are limited in their mobility (turning or bending at the neck) at first and then may undergo physical therapy to help with recovery. Expect recovery to take three months to a year to give time for the fusion to fully solidify.