This surgical procedure aligns and stabilizes the cervical spine to correct instability at the junction of the spine and skill, which can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, spinal tumors, and spinal trauma.
The surgeon creates an incision from the back of the head down along the back of the neck to expose the skull and spine. In some cases, if needed, the surgeon may perform a laminectomy to relieve compression on the spinal cord before the fixation is created.
The surgeon uses screws to attach a metal plate to the base of the skull. The plate will provide an attachment point for the stabilizing rods. These rods are carefully contoured to match or recreate the normal curvature of the cervical spine. The rods are placed on both sides of the rear of the spine and anchored to the skull plate with screws.
The rods are anchored to the vertebrae with screws, locking the lower end of the system in place and stabilizing the spine. Bone graft from the patient’s hip, from a donor, or from bone taken during decompression may be placed along the hardware. A hard collar or halo may be used to stabilize the neck during recovery.
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