After years of neck pain, my doctor has advised me to have a cervical spine fusion. Two of the vertebrae will be held together with a metal plate and bone chips from my hip. What will this really do for me?

The most common goal of a bone fusion is to relieve pain. Bone fusion will also help hold the spine upright and steady. When motion is eliminated, the body starts to absorb some of the bone spurs that have formed.

With the bones lined up correctly, pressure is taken off the nerves and the disc spaces are kept open. This is more comfortable and helps prolong the life of the nearby structures.

Jeffrey R. McConnell, MD, et al. A Prospective Randomized Comparison of Coralline Hydroxyapatite With Autograft in Cervical Interbody Fusion. In Spine. February 15, 2003. Vol. 28. No. 4. Pp. 317-323.

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