Neck problems responsible for ongoing neck pain are one of the top five conditions treated with surgery in the United States. As one of the most highly trained and experienced spinal surgeons in Shenandoah, Texas, Cyril Sebastian, MD, at Evergreen Spine and Neurosurgery Center has helped many people overcome neck pain with effective minimally invasive procedures like cervical fusion. To learn more about your treatment options for chronic neck pain, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
A cervical fusion is a surgical procedure to permanently join two or more vertebrae in your neck. As the adjacent vertebrae grow together, they form one bone that prevents painful movement and stabilizes your neck.
Dr. Sebastian may recommend a cervical fusion if you suffer a neck injury or when an infection or tumor has weakened your cervical spine. In most cases, however, a cervical fusion is done together with another surgical procedure.
Prior to cervical fusion, Dr. Sebastian may perform a discectomy to remove a damaged disc or he may decompress spinal nerves using one of several procedures to remove a small part of the cervical vertebra.
After the disc is gone or a piece of bone is removed, he performs a cervical fusion. Fusing the two vertebrae together restores spinal strength and stability.
You’re most likely to need a cervical fusion when you develop age-related degenerative neck conditions, such as:
Conservative care is the first line of treatment for these conditions. For example, physical therapy, activity modification, steroid injections, and postural training may alleviate the pain and other symptoms caused by degenerative neck problems.
When your pain persists despite conservative treatment, or when your symptoms get worse, it’s time to talk with Dr. Sebastian about the benefits of spinal surgery.
During a minimally invasive cervical fusion, Dr. Sebastian gently moves muscles and other structures out of the way so he can access the targeted vertebrae. After taking care of any other surgical procedures, such as removing the disc, he places a bone graft into the space between the two vertebrae.
The bone graft consists of a piece of bone from your body or a bone bank, or an artificial bone substitute. After the graft is in place, Dr. Sebastian may also secure the two vertebrae with plates and screws to ensure they stay in place while the bones fuse.
The job of the bone graft is to maintain the normal disc space and serve as a bridge that promotes growth between the two vertebrae. As new bone grows from each vertebra over the bone graft, the two bones meet and fuse together. After about 3-6 months, the vertebrae form one solid bone.
If you struggle with ongoing neck pain despite conservative treatment, call Evergreen Spine and Neurosurgery Center or book an appointment online to learn about your surgical options.