Suffering a neck injury from a car accident can be a life-changing event. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can lead to chronic pain, mobility issues, and even disability.
In some cases, cervical fusion may be recommended to alleviate pain and improve function. In this article, we will explore what cervical fusion is, how it is performed, and what you can expect during recovery.
What is Cervical Fusion?
Cervical fusion is a surgical procedure that is used to join two or more vertebrae in the neck together to form a single, solid bone. This is done to stabilize the spine and prevent movement between the vertebrae. The procedure is often recommended for people who have suffered a neck injury, such as a herniated disc, and have not responded to non-surgical treatments.
How is Cervical Fusion Performed?
Cervical fusion is typically performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, an incision is made in the front or back of the neck to access the spine. The damaged disc or vertebrae are then removed, and a bone graft is placed in the space where they were located. The bone graft can be taken from the patient’s own hip or from a donor. The bone graft serves as a bridge between the vertebrae, and over time, new bone grows around it, fusing the vertebrae together.
In some cases, metal plates, screws, or rods may be used to provide additional support while the bone graft heals. Once the bone has fully fused, the hardware is no longer needed and can be removed in a separate surgery.
What are the Risks and Benefits of Cervical Fusion?
Like any surgery, cervical fusion carries risks, including infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. In some cases, the bone graft may not fuse properly, leading to continued pain and the need for additional surgery.
However, for many people, the benefits of cervical fusion outweigh the risks. The procedure can provide significant pain relief and improve mobility, allowing people to return to their normal activities.
What Can You Expect During Recovery?
Recovery from cervical fusion can take several months. During the first few weeks after surgery, you will need to wear a neck brace or collar to support your neck as it heals. You may also need to limit your activities and avoid lifting heavy objects.
As your neck heals, you will gradually increase your activity level and begin physical therapy. Your doctor will monitor your progress with X-rays and other tests to ensure that the fusion is healing properly.
Prognosis and Risks of a Cervical Fusion
Following cervical fusion, the surgical procedure may endure for up to three hours, necessitating hospitalization for several days to convalesce. Despite cervical fusion’s potential to assuage neck injury symptoms associated with vehicular accidents, its curative effects may not be permanent. It is crucial to consider possible complications and the need for additional treatment or procedures. This is especially important for an injury claim, as an Iowa personal injury attorney must factor in future expenses in addition to existing costs and losses.
Cervical fusion encompasses various inherent risks and complications. The patient may suffer from blood clots, neck stiffness, pain at the donor site, spinal cord or nerve damage, infection, bleeding, rejection of the bone graft, and surgical site problems, such as implant failure. The anesthesia used in such surgeries poses several risks, including aspiration, coughing, gagging, increased heart rate, and elevated blood pressure.
As with any surgical procedure, cervical fusion carries certain risks and potential complications.
Q: How long does cervical fusion surgery take? A: Cervical fusion surgery typically takes between 2 and 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
Q: How long will I need to wear a neck brace after cervical fusion? A: You will need to wear a neck brace or collar for several weeks after surgery to support your neck as it heals.
Q: How long does it take for the bone graft to fuse with the vertebrae? A: It can take several months for the bone graft to fully fuse with the vertebrae.
Q: Will I be able to return to my normal activities after cervical fusion? A: In most cases, people are able to return to their normal activities after recovery from cervical fusion.
Q: Can cervical fusion be done as an outpatient procedure? A: Cervical fusion is typically done as an inpatient procedure, meaning that you will need to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery
Thinking of hiring a personal injury attorney for your neck injury case?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are suffering from a neck injury that requires cervical fusion, don’t wait to seek legal representation.
Contact GJEL Accident Attorneys today for a free case review. Our experienced team can help you maximize your compensation and get the justice you deserve. We’re committed to fighting for the rights of accident victims and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Call us now and let us help you on the road to recovery.