Cervical implants are orthopedic devices orthopedic surgeons use to decompress and stabilize the spine. These devices are implanted either from the front (anterior) of the spine or from the back (posterior). Information about anterior implants starts below.
The aims of cervical spine surgery include:
- Reduce pressure on the nerve(s) by decompression (for instance, surgically removing tissues pushing on a nerve).
- Stabilize the cervical spine by fusing 2 or more cervical vertebrae together.
Anterior cervical approach implants
Interbody cage or spacers
Cages (an orthopedic implant) and spacers are placed between 2 vertebrae. Their purpose is to:
- Keep space between vertebrae (if space gets so narrow, nerve roots may be pinched).
- Preserve spinal alignment (for instance, a healthy neck has a specific curve; a spacer can facilitate to restore this curve) and/or,
- Promote spinal fusion (for instance, join (fuse) 2 or more vertebrae together).
Cages are available in various sizes and shapes; some are cylinder-shaped, and others are box-shaped. Cages are placed or fit into the spine between vertebrae. Usually, cages are made from bone, metal, plastic, or carbon fiber. Bone chips (autograft, allograft, other bone graft alternatives, or other bone growth stimulating materials (for instance, demineralized bone matrix) can be packed into the cage. During the months after surgery, the hope is the cage will allow and improve fusion between the vertebrae above and below. Fusion increases spine stability.
Spacers are solid devices and bone cannot be packed inside. A spacer is utilized to facilitate to restore or correct spine alignment.
Anterior cervical plates are attached to the front of 2 or more vertebrae. Bone plates help to:
- Increase stability of the cervical spine immediately after surgery.
- Increase the chances for a successful solid fusion.
- Stabilize the cervical spine while healing.
- Help to reduce the time the patient can need wearing a cervical collar after surgery.
Plates are made with screw holes through which bone screws are positioned into the adjacent (to be fused) vertebral bodies to anchor the plates into accurate place. Both plates and screws are available in various sizes and designs. Most plates are made from metal (mostly titanium); some are produced from plastics. Certain newer plates are manufactured from composite substances that dissolve after fusion happens. Some designs of the plate are self-compressing to help promote spinal fusion.
Artificial Cervical Discs– Spine surgeons of the world have an interest in cervical artificial discs to treat degenerative disease. It’s believed keeping movement between vertebrae is better than spinal fusion. Early studies report cervical artificial discs can help slow down the process or prevent adjacent level disc degeneration. The process is called disc arthroplasty. Artificial discs are produced from various materials. Some designs are all plastics and metal composites and other metal. There are numerous ongoing, and some finished, FDA trials of artificial discs underway in the United States. Devices are being cleared for sale and implantation as the studies show safety and efficacy compared to fusion in selected cases.
If your surgeon suggests cervical surgery, you may be encouraged that cervical decompression and stabilization processes are some of the most successful operations spine surgeons perform presently. Patients often have a rapid recovery and quickly return to activities of everyday living with marked improvement of their symptoms.
Siiora.com has launched its new orthopedic product range of cervical implants which includes Variable Angle Cervical Locking Plate and Cervical Locking Screws in titanium.