A neck fusion, also referred to as a spinal or cervical fusion, is a surgery that may be performed for individuals who suffer a spinal or neck injury. These injuries can occur in various ways and could cause life-threatening and lasting problems. If they occur in the workplace in Iowa, a work comp attorney can help you understand what your next steps should be.
What is neck fusion surgery and what does it involve?
After a fall, car accident, collision with a piece of heavy equipment or any other type of serious work accident the victim could be dealing with a painful neck injury. It is important to seek immediate medical attention after being hurt on the job and especially after suffering a neck injury. The victim may find that his or her doctor recommends fusion surgery to help alleviate pain and repair damage from an injury. Neck fusion surgery connects bones in the spine or neck together that have been broken or weakened.
Neck fusion surgery can be done in a couple different ways:
- A bone graft or piece of bone from another part of the body or from a donor is used to fuse adjacent vertebrae that have been broken to encourage them to grow back together naturally.
- A foreign object such as a metal plate, screw or plastic piece can be implanted to hold vertebrae together until it grows back together or to strengthen weak vertebrae.
After surgery, the victim may stay in the hospital for a short time, wear a neck brace, attend follow-up visits with a doctor and may even need to attend physical therapy to strengthen muscles in the neck and shoulders.
What are some injuries that could require neck fusion surgery?
Treatment for a neck injury can vary greatly depending on the type of injury and its severity. If one or more of a person’s vertebrae are broken, a neck fusion may be recommended. Fractures are most commonly seen in automobile accidents and falls, and some work environments like construction sites or delivery jobs may put workers at risk for these accidents.
Accidents may also lead to misalignment of the vertebrae, which may cause pain and could lead to further complications. Fusion surgery may be required for this neck injury as well to realign and stabilize the affected vertebrae.
Further, fusion surgery may be performed in conjunction with a discectomy, which involves removal of a damaged or herniated disc. The fusion procedure is performed to stabilize the vertebrae following removal of the disc. The procedure may also be performed if a vertebra slips forward, a condition known as spondylolisthesis.
Workers who are dealing with these or other injuries may be unable to work while recovering, or may have to take lower paying jobs until recovered enough to perform previous job duties. In addition to medical costs in Iowa, a workers’ compensation attorney can also pursue disability benefits while the worker is out of work or in a lower-paying position.
Consult Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Des Moines
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