As serious as a cervical spine injury can be, fusion is not always the only treatment method. If you have chronic neck pain due to trauma, overuse, a degenerative condition or any other type of anatomical abnormality, you should consider all of your options before deciding on any type of surgery. In fact, some spine injuries may simply be strains or sprains of the muscles and ligaments that surround the spine, either of which can be successfully treated with a course of non-operative, conservative treatment.
Bone grafts for cervical spine injury fusion
Fusion of the spine is extremely involved and is an invasive surgery when performed as a traditional open spine procedure. A surgeon will access your cervical spine either anteriorly (through the front of the neck) or posteriorly (through the back of the neck). A discectomy is performed, and the disc space is filled with bone grafts. Ideally, the grafted bone will fuse with the existing vertebrae over a period of time, thus stabilizing that section of the spine. Bone grafts can be obtained in the following ways:
• Autograft – bone taken from the same person receiving the graft, often from areas like the pelvis, jaw, chin or ribs.
• Allograft – bone taken from someone other than the individual receiving the graft, often from cadavers whose tissues are at bone banks.
• Synthetic bone material – artificial bone can be created through a variety of chemical processes; growth factors are also used with synthetic bone material to increase the chances of osteoblastic success.
Minimally invasive options
Some risks of traditional open spine fusion include muscle trauma, nerve damage and infection. If the potential complications of a traditional cervical spine fusion are making you so anxious that you don’t want to seek lasting relief from neck pain, it may be time to contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spinal decompression procedures have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from back pain, without the risks and lengthy recovery periods of traditional open spine surgery.