What kinds of conditions does cervical arthrodesis treat?

Cervical arthrodesis is another name for spinal fusion in the upper spine. There are seven vertebrae in the cervical (upper) region of the spine. The spinal discs, joints, ligaments and other parts of the neck support the weight of the head and allow for a wide range of movement. As the body ages, or as a result of traumatic injury, the parts in the cervical spine can begin to wear down or become damaged.

This damage can lead to instability in that part of the spine, potentially causing compression of spinal nerves that send sensory and motor signals to the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms and hands. This compression can cause pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness or other potentially debilitating symptoms. While these symptoms can often be treated with nonsurgical methods, surgery such as cervical arthrodesis may become an option in some cases. The following information about the conditions commonly treated by this type of spine surgery, as well as when to consider a procedure, can help you work more closely with your doctor to make the best treatment decision for you.

Conditions treated by cervical arthrodesis

Age-related changes to the spine happen to everyone and don’t always cause symptoms. However, over time the parts of the spine, such as the joints and discs, dry out and lose elasticity. This can make them less able to withstand the stresses of weight and everyday movement and lead to the following potentially painful conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Hardened ligaments

Upon diagnosis, symptoms related to these conditions can often be managed with a doctor-recommended course of conservative treatment methods such as medication and physical therapy.

When is cervical arthrodesis required?

If your symptoms persist after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, cervical arthrodesis or another form of spine surgery might be recommended by a specialist. If you have been recommended for this type of procedure, but have concerns about the risks and difficulties involved, you should be aware of the other options available to you.

Laser Spine Institute’s surgeons perform minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are designed to stabilize a damaged area of the spine using bone graft material. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures are performed on an outpatient basis with muscle-sparing techniques, offering a shorter recovery period compared to traditional open neck fusion procedures.^

Request a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive procedures by contacting Laser Spine Institute today.