Cervical Spinal Fusion in an Adult Male Recreational Athlete

Student Author(s)

Stephen Waltersdorf

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Margaret Frens

Document Type


Event Date



This is a case study of an adult male recreational athlete who has had two spinal fusion surgeries in his cervical spine. A spinal fusion surgery consists of removing the intervertebral disc and replacing it with a cage or cadaver bone. The two bones are then screwed and plated together to provide stability. People usually need a spinal fusion surgery after suffering a ruptured disc or when they have stenosis, or narrowing, of the spine near the nerve roots or spinal cord. Some causes of stenosis are being over 50 years of age, ruptured disc, and previous injury to the spine. This individual had both a ruptured disc and stenosis, indicating the need for a spinal fusion surgery. The success rate of these surgeries is near 100% and the need for a second surgery is extremely low. If a patient needs a second surgery it is usually performed on the opposite side that the first one was done. Causes for a second surgery could be several reasons: graft shift, smoking, excessive motion in the healing process, or graft rejection.

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