Cervical spinal fusion (arthrodesis) is
a surgery that joins selected bones in the neck (cervical spine). There
are different methods of performing a cervical spinal fusion:
Bone can be taken from elsewhere in your body
or obtained from a bone bank (a bone graft). The bone is used to make a bridge
vertebrae that are next to each other (adjacent). This
bone graft stimulates the growth of new bone. Man-made (artificial)
fusion materials may also be used.
Metal implants can be
used to hold the vertebrae together until new bone grows between
Metal plates can be screwed into the bone, joining adjacent
An entire vertebra can be removed, and the spine then
spinal disc can be removed and the adjacent vertebrae
This procedure can be performed through an incision on the front
(anterior) or back (posterior) of the neck.
Like the nearly 80% of Americans who will experience a back problem during their lifetime, Beverly Hayes suffers from back pain. For many, the injury is triggered by a strenuous activity, like gardening or weight lifting. Others simply bend down to pick up a pencil and their back gives out.
“It felt like a screwdriver was piercing through my bones,” the 46-year-old Chicago artist says about the pain that developed shortly after she ran a half-marathon. “It took over my life. I...
Cervical spinal fusion is usually successful in relieving symptoms. But it does not appear to work better than nonsurgical treatment.1 Complications sometimes occur. Repeat surgery is sometimes needed to
address complications or recurrence.
Although cervical spinal fusion stiffens part of the neck, this
does not reduce neck flexibility for most people.
Surgery and the use of anesthesia involve some risk. The risks
associated with this procedure vary depending on your age and overall health,
diagnosis, and type of procedure used. Risks include:
Pain in a bone graft site (donor
Failure of the fusion, breakage of metal implants (if used),