Minimally invasive procedure can help sufferers of chronic neck pain
A neurosurgeon at Tidelands Health is the first physician in the region to perform a minimally invasive posterior cervical fusion, a procedure meant to help patients suffering from chronic neck pain.
Dr. M. Daniel Eggart, who practices at MUSC Neurosciences at Tidelands Health, has twice performed the procedure at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet. The outpatient procedure fuses together vertebrae to help stabilize the spine and relieve symptoms associated with compressed nerves, spinal instability and herniated discs.
Unlike traditional open neck surgery, minimally invasive posterior cervical fusion requires only a small incision to the back of the neck. A single small screw is used to secure the spine instead of the traditional rod-and-screw system.
The procedure is usually performed in 15 to 20 minutes, and patients typically go home the same day.
“Chronic neck pain can be debilitating and prevent people from enjoying everyday activities,” Dr. Eggart said. “Minimally invasive posterior cervical fusion is another tool we can employ to help address that problem and allow people to return to normal activity levels.”
Not all patients suffering from chronic neck pain are appropriate for minimally invasive posterior cervical fusion, Dr. Eggart said. Candidacy depends on a range of factors, including the specific cause of a patient’s pain and the individual’s anatomy.
Still, for those who are eligible, the procedure is an excellent alternative that can reduce blood loss, decrease the risk of infection, minimize scarring and speed recovery, Dr. Eggart said.
“Even if other procedures have failed, don’t assume that you have to live with chronic neck pain,” Dr. Eggart said. “New tools and techniques may be able to help.”