The tips o the spinous processes may be removed to create room or the bones to swing open like a door. Theback o each vertebra is opened, taking pressure o o the spinal cord and nerve roots. Small wedges o boneand/or small plates are placed to “hold the door open” and allow room or the spinal cord and nerve roots to restcomortably.
See Figure 2a and 2b. Courtesy o Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
In addition to opening the spinal canal, the surgeon may perorm a oraminotomy i indicated. This involves usinginstruments to remove small pieces o bone surrounding an exiting nerve root that travels to the arm.
What a th isks?
You must be ully anesthetized.
There is a chance o inection with any operation.
There is always some blood loss and a chance o post-operative blood clots with any operation.
Damage to the spinal cord producing paralysis.
This can occur, but happens in less than one percent o our cases. I a nerve is damaged, it does not mean paralysis. Each spinal nerve supplies only a small group o muscles.
C5 Nerve Palsy:
Approximately 2 – 4% o patients will develop C5 nerve root palsy (weakness o the shoulder muscles).In almost all cases, this weakness will improve within 6 months, but some patients will require a ullyear to recover.
In some cases where internal fxation devices (plates and screws) are to be used, there is always the possibility that one or more o the screws may break or the plate may come loose. This is a rareoccurrence and i it does occur, in many cases it is not a problem.
The fnal risk is that the surgery may not give you the results you hoped it would. We hope to give yousignifcant relie rom your Spinal Fusion symptoms, but it is unrealistic to expect 100% relie. It wouldbe wise to get a clear understanding o what you can expect rom your surgery.