The Advantages and Disadvantages of Neck Fusion

Total disc replacement surgery

Cervical disc herniation can lead to pain that radiates through your neck and arms, making everyday movement and activities difficult. If your case is severe, you might have to make the choice between cervical disc replacement, and neck fusion. This is a tough decision once you consider the benefits and risks of both procedures. However, if you’re leaning towards cervical spine fusion, here is some information that might help you to decide.

Cost

The Healthcare Bluebook estimates that a fair price for cervical fusion costs are about $24,000. It’s important to note that this price will vary greatly depending on what kind of cervical fusion you opt for, how long your stay is (some surgeries are outpatient procedures) and where you are in the country, as surgeon’s fees do vary.

Benefits

Successful neck surgery
can reduce pain by correcting the underlying source of nerve irritation. There are times when neck fusion is done after a laminectomy, and one of the benefits of fusion in that case is that it can reduce the chance of allowing a spinal deformity, or abnormal alignment to form. Also, deformity that existed before the fusion can be corrected, reducing the chances of future wear and tear and pain.

Risks

One of the first risks that people think of when they are considering neck fusion is the potential for decreased mobility. Some people require a great deal of bone grafting in order to have a fusion, and in those cases, more muscle must be dissected, and more of the spine must be exposed. This increases recovery time, as well as the risk for inflammation, and the chance that further surgeries may be needed.

Is there a better option?

If you can find a center that offers stand-alone spinal fusion, you may be able to avoid some of the traditional risks associated with cervical spinal fusion. Stand alone technology uses bio-material as opposed to titanium plates, and is part of a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. The “gentler” surgery means quicker recovery time, and a reduced risk of complications.

Spinal injuries and conditions can be as unique as the people that are affected by them. Whether you are a good candidate for disc replacement or spinal fusion is worth discussing with an expert surgeon, so that you can make an educated choice about moving forward with surgery. Remember that there are advantages and disadvantages to all surgeries, but the use of advanced technologies may help to tip the scales. Consider your options carefully, and discuss potential outcomes with a doctor so that you can get the best treatment possible.

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