Minimally invasive fusion for the cervical spine (the neck) is a beneficial procedure that is usually done in conjunction with a discectomy. During the procedure, the damaged disc is removed, and the vertebra above and below the disc’s location are fused into a single component. This stabilizes the cervical spine and alleviates painful compression. To learn more about minimally invasive fusion, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health for a full consultation on your condition. Call the office at Call407-303-5452.

What Does Fusion Mean?

Spinal fusion is a commonly misunderstood procedure. Essentially, it’s nothing more than the joining of two or more vertebra into a single unit by using hardware and bone graft material. It offers stabilization for the neck and provides needed relief from the symptoms of spinal compression (stenosis). The surgeon performing the procedure will remove any damaged disc or disc material and install hardware to connect the two vertebras and hold the bone graft in place. Fusion takes place over a period of time as the bones grow together and mesh with the graft material. Fusion can also be done to treat other conditions, including spinal tumors and infections.

How Does Minimally Invasive Fusion Work?

Minimally invasive fusion relies on special laparoscopic equipment and techniques. These allow the surgeon to enter the spine through an alternate site, and avoid the painful complications associated with traditional open surgery. Those complications include an increased chance of infection, larger incisions, longer healing times and more pain during recovery.

In a minimally invasive fusion procedure performed at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health, Dr. Chetan Patel will make a small incision on one side of the neck (either the left or right side can be used). Through this incision, he will use laparoscopic equipment to move the muscles and soft tissues out of the way, and then take an x-ray to ensure the correct surgical location has been accessed. Once the location has been ascertained, the surgeon will then remove the disc in question. Diseased, degenerating discs are usually completely removed. In the case of a herniated disc, all or just the herniated portion of the disc can be removed depending on what the surgeon decides is the best option.

Once the disc has been removed (in the case of a fusion and discectomy), the vertebras will be fused together. The surgeon will first install bone graft material between the two vertebras, and will then secure them all together with hardware. In most instances, the surgeon will use pedicle screws and plates, but wire can also be used in certain sections of the cervical spine (the higher vertebras). Next, the equipment is withdrawn, the soft tissues and muscles are moved back into place and the incision is closed. The surgeon will monitor the fusion process for some time to ensure that the vertebras and bone graft are fusing properly.

For more information about how a minimally invasive fusion procedure can alleviate pain and suffering, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Make an appointment by calling Call407-303-5452.