Occipitocervical Fusion

Fusion of the upper cervical spine is a highly invasive procedure that you would rather like to prevent. Unfortunately for some patients who have severe instability and brainstem compression, it is impossible to avoid surgery as the condition can be even life threatening.

With occipitocervical fusion, the upper cervical spine (C1 and C2) and the skull get fused, to avoid excessive movement. This is called a “short fusion”. A “long fusion” can run from the skull to T2. The good news is that many patients get relief of their symptoms, though the downfall is that the range of motion of their head and neck will be greatly reduced. 

Fusion can only be performed by a neurosurgeon who is highly skilled in this type of surgery.