What operations for Cervical fusion surgery are available?
Various operations are available doing it either from the Front side of the neck or the Back side of the neck. The operations commonly done are
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
- Posterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
- Anterior Corpectomy and Fusion
- Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and lateral mass fixation
- Global fusion (Anterior plus Posterior procedure)
What is an Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion Procedure?
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a technique designed to ease the spinal cord or nerve root pressure by removing a degenerative or damaged disc in the neck through the surgery. The surgery takes place by making a one or two-inch incision in the neck, prevertebral fascia and platysma muscle that lies beneath the upper skin is first cut and moved aside to expose the disc. Then the surgeon reaches the damaged disc and removes it. After the disc is detached, a space is caused between the bony vertebrae. So a graft or synthetic cage made of either titanium or PEEK carbon material is inserted to fuse the bones below and above the disc. The bone graft/ cage and vertebrae are secured in place with metal plates and bolts sometimes.
What problems does Cervical Fusion Surgery treat?
Cervical Fusion Surgery is used to treat pain due to nerve root pressure in the spine. Cervical Fusion Surgery is recommended when treatments like physiotherapy, pain medication, etc. are not effective. Most commonly Cervical Fusion Surgery is suggested for the patient to treat:
- Herniated disk – Cervical Fusion Surgery can be done to stabilise the spine after removal of a herniated disk.
- Spinal instability– If there is any abnormal motion between two vertebrae, the spine can become unstable, spinal fusion can come to the rescue, it will restore the stability of the spine.
Deformities of the spine- spinal fusion can help recorrect the spinal deformities.
What is the recovery period for Cervical Fusion Surgery?
This surgery requires a short stay at the hospital patients will usually be directed to walk after a few hours of surgery. In a few cases depending on the extent of surgery and discomfort, patients may require two to three days of stay.
What are the potential complications in Cervical Fusion Surgery?
Cervical Fusion Surgery is overall quite a safe procedure and complications are rare. But, like every surgery, it also carries some risks as below:
When can I get back to my routine?
ACDF procedure usually allows you to be ambulatory within a few hours after surgery. Your Neurosurgeon and Spine surgeon may sometimes advise you to use a cervical collar for a period up to 6 weeks. Until such time, you can resume all of your normal activities including work, but some things like lifting heavy objects, neck bending forward, travelling long distances and riding a bike are to be avoided. Bones will be fused in 3-6 months time after which you are back to your normal lifestyle.
What is the difference between bone graft and synthetic cage? Which one is better?
Bone graft is generally taken from your hip bone (Iliac crest bone graft). Synthetic cage is made of either an alloy metal such as Titanium or a carbon material such as PEEK material (polyetheretherketone). Both bone graft and synthetic cages are shown to be comparable equally in various studies. Advantage of a synthetic cage is that a second incision at your hip can be avoided, but it comes with added costs based on the material used.
Dr Nitin Jagdhane is one of the best Neurosurgeon and Spine specialists for doing Minimal Invasive/ Access spine surgery and Endoscopic Spine Surgery in Mumbai, India. Get in touch with Dr. Nitin Jagdhane, brain and spine specialist in Mumbai, for the best results for your ACDF Cervical Fusion Surgery.