Fusion without instrumentation


I have to admit that I could not find any publications about this method and its usage for cervical spine instability. But I still wanted to mention it briefly since it was suggested as a possible surgery to me and it does sound quite promising. It should be clear that at this moment there is no scientific confirmation of the things I am writing in this post. Nevertheless I believe it is interesting for the future.

So what is a fusion without instrumentation? 

It means that the vertebral bodies „grow“ together and the movement of the pathological level is reduced (fused) without using any screws, plates or other metal to help. The ultimate goal of every fusion surgery is that in the end the bones will hold together without the need of the metal.

Instead of the usually used screw and plate system it is worked with „tape“. This tape is applied to your cervical spine from behind and acts as a ligament to support the posterior ligaments. In addition bone graft is used to lead to fusion and long term movement reduction.

I learned about this method through a neurosurgeon I highly respect and who has a lot of experience with surgeries on c-spines in Ehlers-Danlos patients. Because of the often seen multiple levels of instabilities in EDS patients (and myself) he looked into other methods of c-spine stabilization without using metal all over the spine.

Unfortunately there is no long term experience and no larger studies and I am not sure how many neurosurgeons worldwide do use this method. Overall this surgery method sounded to me like it would fit my needs and like a good alternative in my case.

Information about one example for those fiber tapes and some surgical methods in other joints can be found here: 

http://www.arthrex.com