Posterior Cervical Fusion

A posterior cervical fusion may be recommended to stop motion between two or more vertebrae, to straighten the cervical spine from a spinal deformity, or to stabilize the cervical spine after a fracture.

This procedure is done under general anesthesia, meaning the patient goes to sleep. During the surgery the patient lies face down on a special surgical bed. The procedure is performed through a small incision on the back of the neck. The surgeon safely creates a window to see the spine. Unlike in an anterior cervical fusion, there is no place to wedge bone graft so the bone graft is simply laid on top of the lamina. The goal of surgery is for the lamina to eventually fuse. To improve fusion, spinal hardware or wires may be used to hold the graft tightly in place while the fusion heals. When spinal hardware, or instrumentation, is used to improve the success of a posterior fusion, metal rods or plates are attached to the back of the spine. If the bones do not fuse as planned this is called a nonunion, or pseudarthrosis.