Traditional open C6-C7 fusion risks and side effects

Before you decide if a C6-C7 cervical fusion is the best option to treat your chronic neck pain, you should compare the potential risks of the procedure to the benefits. Like any surgery, a C6-C7 fusion comes with certain risks and side effects that should always be taken into consideration. It is important to be aware of the full range of surgical options available, including the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

At Laser Spine Institute, our patient-centered care focuses on educating our patients about the risks and benefits of both traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive approaches to surgery, including cervical fusion. Our goal is to provide you with as much education about treatments as possible so you can make the best decision for your needs. To learn more, contact our caring and dedicated team today.

Risks and side effects of traditional open neck C6-C7 fusion

Traditional open neck C6-C7 fusion is often performed in a hospital and typically requires multiple days of postoperative hospitalization. During the procedure, the surgeon will make a large incision to access the spine and reach the C6-C7 vertebrae. Once the vertebrae are reached, the surgeon will decompress the nerve in the neck and stabilize the vertebrae with a bone graft.

Due to the large incision and muscle disruption involved, there is a greater risk of complication and potential side effects for traditional open spine surgery. These can include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Bone graft rejection
  • Hardware failure
  • Long recovery time
  • Up to a 19 percent infection rate^

In addition, patients who have undergone a traditional open spine C6-C7 fusion could experience a condition known as a transitional segment, in which permanent fusion of one segment places more stress on a nearby vertebral segment and increases the odds of nerve compression at that level.

Minimally invasive cervical fusion as an alternative to traditional surgery

Patients recommended to undergo traditional open spine C6-C7 cervical fusion may be a candidate for a minimally invasive stabilization procedure, which is Laser Spine Institute’s outpatient approach to fusion.

Our minimally invasive fusion is performed in one of our state-of-the-art outpatient surgery centers across the country. That means that you are not required any postoperative hospital stays; our patients leave the same day as their surgery.^ During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision. Through this incision, with the assistance of our advanced surgical technology, the surgeon will access the C6-C7 vertebrae while sparing surrounding muscle and soft tissue. The compressed nerve in the spine will be relieved and an implant will be placed between the C6-C7 vertebrae to offer stability.

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute

  • No lengthy recovery^
  • A small incision and muscle-sparing techniques
  • A streamlined outpatient experience
  • Board-certified surgeons+
  • 0.49 percent infection rate^

If you are interested in learning more about our minimally invasive stabilization procedures as an alternative to cervical fusion for C6-C7 vertebrae, please call our team today. We can help you receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.