Catastrophic Neck Injuries Resulting in a Cervical Fusion: Car Accident Lawyer in New York
While no one ever expects to be injured in a car accident, millions of Americans are injured in motor vehicle accidents each year. Car accidents can cause a variety of different personal injuries, including injuries to the neck, or cervical spine. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of neck injuries with over 800,000 new neck injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes each year in the United States. When those injuries damage branches of nerves, impinge on the spinal cord, or otherwise affect the structure and function of the cervical spine, it may require an invasive surgery known as a cervical fusion. This type of procedure removes bone, disc, and other tissue, then inserts painful hardware to restrict the range of motion to prevent further injury. Unfortunately, there is always a permanent range of motion restriction and, in many instances, a victim will never make a full recovery. Due to these factors, victims who need a cervical fusion after a car accident in New York should contact an experienced car accident lawyer in New York for help.
Here at the Law Office of Carl Maltese, our personal injury law firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals who have been seriously injured or catastrophically harmed by another person, business, or government agency’s reckless, careless, or outright negligent conduct. This includes catastrophic personal injuries such as those requiring a cervical fusion after a car accident. If you or a loved one suffered any type of spinal cord or cervical injuries requiring a spinal fusion surgery, call our law firm to schedule a FREE consultation by dialing (631) 825-8351.
When is a Cervical Fusion Needed?
Victims who have neck injuries may require a cervical fusion to prevent further spinal cord damage, stop debilitating pain, repair damage to discs, or to realign the injured or displaced vertebrae. Some common indications for when a cervical fusion may be appropriate include the following:
- When a victim suffers from a herniated disc
- Compression fractures
- Brachial plexus nerve pain (pain in the arm)
- Loss of range of motion of the neck or shoulder due to extreme pain
- Radiating pain
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Whiplash pain and injury
- Torn tissue in the neck that is not healing
- Annular tears in the discs of the cervical spine (the neck area)
- Spinal cord injury or impingement
- Paralysis or risk of paralysis, and
- Many other common injuries to the cervical spine or neck that are not healing properly.
A spinal fusion is a last option in most cases because it causes permanent damage and range of motion restriction, meaning victims who suffer this type of injury often have future pain and suffering.
What is Involved in a Cervical Fusion Surgery?
A spinal fusion surgery involves the joining of the bones in the neck with the purpose of increasing the stability of the neck and spine. According to the University of Michigan Health, there are a few different ways that a cervical fusion is performed. The ways in which the surgery is performed include the following:
- The removal of a part of a vertebra (lamina) or other parts of the vertebrae
- Removal of the disc between the vertebrae, in whole or in part
- A bone graft from another part of the body or a donor bone graft may be used to help fuse the vertebrae together. The bone graft helps to create a bridge, and the bone graft stimulates new bone growth. Cement or implants may also be used as a replacement for a bone graft.
- Metal plates may be used to fuse the vertebrae together, but traditionally rods and screws are used to keep the vertebrae aligned
- The use of metal implants can help to keep the vertebrae together, allowing new bone growth between the two vertebrae, and
- Other leading medical procedures and advancements to help stabilize the area that was damaged in a motor vehicle accident.
What is the Recovery After a Cervical Fusion Surgery?
Cervical fusion usually requires the individual to remain in the hospital for a short period of time following the surgery. Patients who undergo cervical fusion surgery may need to wear a neck brace during their recovery, and their activity is typically limited as they recover from this major surgery. The recovery for patients who undergo this surgery may be lengthy. Most individuals will also need to undergo some form of physical therapy or occupational therapy.
What are the Risks Involved in a Cervical Fusion?
While cervical fusion may be necessary for certain injuries following a car accident, there are certain risks involved in the surgery. Known risks for this procedure include the following:
- Hemorrhage or excessive bleeding
- Failure of the fusion
- Damage or breaking of the metal implant (if applicable)
- Nerve injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Rejection of a graft if used
- Reactions to general anesthesia used for the procedure
- Blood clots that could lead to strokes, pulmonary embolisms, or deep vein thrombosis, and
- Other injuries due to the invasive and devastating nature of a cervical fusion after a car accident in New York.