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Neck Fusion Surgery

How Do I know I need Neck Fusion Surgery?

Neck Fusion Surgery  is a common option for patients with continued neck pain and radiculopathy associated with cervical disc herniations. The diagram to the left demonstrates a typical cervical disc, that may need surgical intervention.

That procedure is also known as Anterior Cervical Disectomy and Fusion.

More information about the procedure is found on the Spinal Animations page.  While the name of the surgery sounds intimidating,  it is a common procedure performed by spine surgeons, and has one of the most predictable good outcomes.

Patients that do not respond to conservative measures, or develop progressive weakness, or severe pain may benefit from this procedure.

Typically, patients will have neck pain with arm radiations.  It can also be associated with headaches.  Usually, after several weeks of continued pain, a primary care physician will order diagnostic tests such as an MRI, or sometimes a CT scan.  If there is a corresponding disk herniation, or bone spur that is consistent with the pain pattern,  a referral is often made to a spine specialist.

As long as there is a tolerable level of pain,  or progression of a neurologic deficit, non surgical means are initially recommended.  These treatments include physical therapy,  home exercises, anti-inflammatory medications, narcotic medications,  muscle relaxers, chiropractic care, and possibly epidural steroid medications.  Each patient is different, and may or may not tolerate each of these options.

If the patient does not improve despite at least 6 weeks of conservative, non-surgical care,  review of the imaging tests  can determine if the patient is an appropriate candidate for cervical discectomy and neck fusion surgery.

As this is general information, please discuss your individual situation with your surgeon.

Last modified: October 22, 2019