Posterior Cervical Fusion
Posterior Cervical Fusion is a surgical procedure in which screws, rods, and bone graft are used to weld adjacent bones together and stop motion. This is often combined with cervical foraminotomy or laminectomy to decompress affected nerves or the spinal cord.
Who can Benefit from Posterior Cervical Fusion?
Candidates for fusion surgery generally have neck pain, arm pain, and difficulty walking. Posterior fusion with laminectomy is often chosen in patients who have spinal cord compression over multiple levels. Posterior spinal fusion is also chosen as an addition to anterior spinal fusion if three or more levels require surgical fusion. For many conditions, posterior spinal fusion is an excellent option and can result in dramatic improvement in pain symptoms and quality of life.
General Surgical Procedure
The cervical spine is exposed through a posterior (back) incision and the target level is marked using imaging. Some combination of screws, hooks and rods are placed in the bones that are being fused. X-rays are taken to confirm proper placement. A cervical laminectomy to relieve compression of the spinal cord or cervical foraminotomy to relive nerve root compression can be done at this time. The incision is closed with absorbable stitches and/or staples and the patient is brought to the recovery area. After completing the surgery patient will usually spend two to three nights in the hospital.
Find more detailed information on what to expect during surgery here.
Spine Surgery in Minneapolis
Patients who posterior cervical surgery can often return to light activities within a few weeks, but this can vary depending on the individual patient, number of levels treated and other factors. Rest, physical therapy, and a course of pain management medication will all be included in the recovery period.