Don’t Wait Until Irreversible Damage is Done: Get Surgery for Anterior Cervical Fusion

Alan S. Hilibrand, MD December 18th, 2014

The spinal column withstands quite a bit of stress and daily wear and tear over its lifetime.

And while the discs between vertebrae are filled with protective material, designed to cushion the bone and protect the spine from the impact of the body’s movements, this material dries out and these discs breakdown due to injury or simply on account of years of use.

A variety of cervical spinal injuries and conditions can be successfully addressed through a surgery for anterior cervical fusion and decompression, which involved decompression of the spinal cord and nerves and the natural process of bone healing to create a more stable spine. With improved strength and stability in the previously damaged region, the spinal column can get back to its important jobs of mobilizing the body and facilitating the nervous system.

If you are currently experiencing any of the following:
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Problems with dexterity, hand coordination, balance or walking
  • Pain or tingling in your neck, arms or legs
It’s time to call an orthopedic spine specialist, like those at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute and make an appointment to talk about the possibility of having a surgery for anterior cervical fusion. The most common symptom associated with cases requiring spinal decompression and fusion is arm pain and the procedure can be used to address the root cause of a wide range of spinal problems, including osteoarthritis, bone spurs, pinched nerves or herniated discs

Did You Know?...

The surgery for anterior cervical fusion and decompression must be completed before irreversible damage is done.

What Does That Mean?...

For patients wondering if this procedure is their best solution for pain relief, it is imperative to take action as soon as possible. It’s as easy as picking up the phone and taking that first step to call Rothman Orthopaedic Institute and set up an appointment with one of the outstanding, world-renowned spine surgeons there. Cervical decompression and fusion may be right for you, but you’ll never know until you see the right doctor.
Before you make that call, you may be wanting to get more information about what this surgery for anterior cervical fusion and decompression would entail. Let’s begin by stating the ultimate goal of the procedure: to stabilize the spine and reduce excessive motion and therefore, also reduce pain.
For a cervical discectomy and fusion surgery, the disc is removed from the front of the neck in order to remove the compressive structure that is causing pain and/or spinal cord compression. 
As the entire disc is removed with this procedure, the vertebrae above and below the disc are then fused together to prevent collapse of the spinal column at that level. 
In other words, a decompression and fusion procedure addresses the root cause of the pain by removing the arthritis and cleaning out the damaged spinal vertebrae. Then, in the natural healing process, a segment of the spinal column is fused together in order to stabilize and protect that region of the spine, therefore reducing pain. When an anterior cervical fusion is done, it is the decompression that addresses the symptoms and the fusion that provides stability and the more desirable long-term outcome.

Why Anterior?

An anterior incision sometimes offers the surgeon more direct access to the spine. This decision is made on a case by case basis, so be sure to talk with your surgeon about whether he/she will plan to make the incision and approach the spine from the anterior (front) or posterior (back) of the body. In some case, approaching from the back requires the surgeons to have to reposition nerves or dissect other muscles. In general, the anterior approach to surgery is used when the compressive pathology originates in front of the spinal cord and spinal nerves.
While modern orthopedic advancements have made surgeries for anterior cervical fusion and decompression even more simple and successful, nothing can replace the value of receiving care from a well-respected, experienced team of spinal specialists. Why trust anyone else when the regional leaders in orthopedics are right around the corner? With over 20 locations in the greater Philadelphia area and throughout southern New Jersey, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute is not only your best choice for spinal surgery, but it happens to be a convenient option, too! For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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