What Is Posterior Cervical Fusion Surgery?

Posterior (back) cervical (neck) fusion surgery is a term used to describe surgery that binds together two or more spinal vertebrae while causing minimal disruption to the soft tissues around the spine, including:

  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Tendons
  • Veins and arteries

As a result, patients typically avoid a long hospital stay and experience a shorter recovery time.

Posterior cervical fusion surgery is designed to treat certain spinal conditions after all other conservative methods of treatment have failed (e.g., medications, physical therapy). Conditions treated with this technique include:

  • Damage to the spine due to infection or tumors
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD): A natural deterioration of the spinal discs (the cushions between the vertebrae) as the body ages, resulting in loss of disc flexibility or disc herniation
  • Fracture(s) in the cervical vertebrae
  • Herniated discs: When the soft center of a disc leaks through a crack in the tough outer layer and puts pressure on the nerve or nerve roots
  • Spinal stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal that places pressure on the spinal cord and associated nerves
  • Spondylolisthesis: When one of the vertebrae slips forward over the other

What Happens During a Posterior Cervical Fusion?

During the procedure, the surgeon:

  • Makes a small incision in the back of the neck, then moves the muscles and holds them aside using a tool known as a tubular contractor
  • Removes the bony covering of the spine (lamina) and then removes the affected material (e.g., a damaged spinal disc, the cushion between each vertebra)
  • Places a bone graft —which may be made of local bone from the decompression, cadaver bone or a synthesized material— in the space to promote the fusion of the two vertebrae together
  • Inserts screws to provide stability and correct the deformity, then applies bone graft material along the spine

The Leaders in Advanced Spine Treatment

At IGEA Brain & Spine, our surgeons are extensively trained in this and other spine fusion techniques to effectively treat spine disorders. Our surgeons utilize only the most advanced surgical techniques as part of their commitment to superior care for patients living with brain, spine and neuroendovascular conditions.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.