Posterior Cervicothoracic Fusion (PCF), a surgical procedure performed through the back of the neck, involves joining or fusing two or more damaged cervical vertebrae. The fusion of vertebrae is also known as arthrodesis. Sometimes metallic plates may be used for fixing the vertebrae, this is also known as instrumentation.
PCF may be employed for the management of cervical fractures, bone dislocations, and deformities due to abnormal curvature of the cervical vertebrae.
The basic steps of posterior cervical fusion include:
Patients may be discharged from the hospital within a week of the surgery. A neck brace is recommended for several months, however this restriction may not be required if the vertebrae are fixed with a metal plate during the PCF surgery. Patients are initiated on a liquid diet which is gradually changed to solid food, depending on their recovery.
Physical therapy is recommended after 4-6 weeks of the surgery. Physical therapists help patients perform their routine activities without exerting any extra stress on the neck. Rest is advised as it helps in healing of the bone graft.
Every major surgery is associated with complications. Some of the complications associated with posterior cervical fusion include: