Minimally invasive cervical fusion — 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 all possible risks of the procedure to the benefits. Like any surgery, a C6-C7 fusion comes with certain risks and potential side effects that should always be taken into consideration. However, minimally invasive cervical fusion at Laser Spine Institute often carries lower risk of infection and shorter recovery time^ than that of traditional open neck fusion.

At Laser Spine Institute, we believe that patients deserve to be in control of their own health care decisions. That is why our patient-centered care focuses on educating our patients about the risks and benefits of each treatment options we offer. No one knows your pain and your lifestyle better than you. Our goal is to provide you with as much education about treatments as possible so you can make the best decision for your needs.

Risks and Side Effects of Traditional Open Neck Fusion C6-C7

Traditional open neck C6-C7 fusion is often performed in a hospital and requires a few days of postoperative hospitalization. During the procedure, the surgeon will make a large incision in the back of the neck and have to cut through surrounding muscles to 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 to reduce the chance of future nerve damage.

The risks and potential side effects of traditional open spine surgery include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Bone graft rejection
  • Hardware failure
  • Long recovery time (six months to a year)
  • Up to 19 percent infection rate (Joshi, AP. 2014)

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

In some cases, patients can opt for a minimally invasive spine procedure rather than the highly invasive open spine C6-C7 fusion operation. Laser Spine Institute offers an effective alternative to traditional open neck fusion with our minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery.

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 minimal incision at the neck, usually about 1-inch in length. Through this incision, with the assistance of our advanced surgical technology, the surgeon will access the C6-C7 vertebrae without disturbing the surrounding muscle and soft tissue. The compressed nerve in the spine will be relieved and an implant placed between the C6-C7 vertebrae to offer immediate stability.

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute

  • No lengthy recovery^
  • About a 1-inch incision
  • Minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • Board-certified surgeons+
  • 0.49 percent infection rate^

If you are interested in learning more about our minimally invasive cervical fusion for C6-C7 vertebrae, please call our Spine Care Consultants to schedule a review of your MRI and determine your candidacy for our procedure. Let our team help you find relief from your chronic neck pain so you can get back to living life to the fullest.