A cervical corpectomy and strut graft operation is a surgery on the cervical spine that requires extreme skill and expertise on behalf of the surgeon. A corpectomy is surgery that relieves pressure on the spinal cord due to spinal stenosis. Spinal Stenosis is bone spurs pressing on the spinal cord. When pressure is placed on the spinal cord an array of problems can occur: walking, bowels, bladder, fine motor skills, hand problems, and other pains. The word strut graft is also known as a bone graft. When a corpectomy is performed, the front part of the spinal cord is removed by the surgeon and a bone graft is used to fill the space. Of course, if you or your family member has had this surgery you already know the above information. For a little more detail about this operation read further.
According to an article written by several surgeons from the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University Medical Center, long strut grafts or multiple strut grafts are vulnerable to dislodgment, displacement, fracture, and nonunion. These complications usually require a revision surgery which means something went wrong in the first surgery. In order to avoid complications the surgeon must be meticulous in the preparation of the vertebral endplate along with making the bone graft the exact size. Why is it crucial to make sure the bone graft that is placed into the cervical spine is the exact size? It is crucial because if the bone graft is too small it will move and dislodge. When a bone graft is displaced it often will protrude the spinal cord causing serious spinal cord damage that can lead to serious injury including loss of movement of legs, arms, other bodily problems. (see Management of Strut Graft Failure In Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery, Thongtragan, M.D., Balabhadra, M.D., Kim, M.D. Stanford University Medical Center, Neursurgery Focus, 2003)
Many medical articles and journals authored by some of the best cervical spine surgeons in the country explain how longer strut grafts and multi-level corpectomy procedures increase the chances of failure. Therefore, surgeons who are too aggressive and perform these multi-level procedures are increasing the risk of serious spinal cord injury for the patient.
For more information on this topic or to discuss how an attorney can assist you with a spinal cord injury, please do not hesitate to contact us.