What Is A Cervical Plate And Cage?

Spine Doctor in Dallas

When undergoing spine surgery, you want a physician who is experienced and highly trained in the most state-of-the-art techniques to help ensure a positive outcome for years to come. In order to provide increased stability of the spine after surgery, Dr. Courtney may use cervical spine instrumentation such as:

  • Anterior cervical plates
  • Posterior cervical plates
  • Anterior cervical interbody cages

Following are details on how these procedures may be of benefit to you.

Anterior Cervical Plates

Developed in the 1980’s, anterior plates were initially used exclusively for long or multi-level fusions. Today, more surgeons are also using them for single level procedures.

In this procedure, a small plate is applied to the front of the spine. It’s a relatively simple procedure and can add considerable stability to the spine. The steps in this technique involve:

  • A plate is placed over the front of the cervical spine and bridges the level(s) being fused.
  • Following the application of the plate, two small screws are placed through the plate and into the vertebral body above and below the fusion.
  • Usually, intraoperative fluoroscopy (a live-time X-ray) is used to watch the screws and assure their correct placement.

As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks in applying cervical plates, including screw failure or loosening – and the added risk of infection. However, intraoperative or postoperative complications of plating are typically rare.

Posterior Cervical Plates

To add stability to the spine, a posterior cervical plate can be placed on the side of the spine and attached to the spine using screws. The screws are angled out into the bone, away from the canal, into what is known as the lateral mass.

Placement of the screws involves some risk to the vertebral artery and the exiting nerve root — so there is added risk, but better fixation of the spine is normally achieved.

Anterior Cervical Interbody Cages

Interbody cages can be used in the cervical interbody space to obtain a fusion. There are different varieties (i.e. impactable vs. threaded), and they can be made of different substances, including carbon fiber, polyethylethylketone (PEEK) or titanium.

The cages offer excellent fixation, so most patients do not need additional instrumentation (i.e. screws) or post-operative back braces for support.

Call Dr. Courtney today!

When it comes to spine surgery, you want and deserve the best-of-the-best! Dr. Stephen Courtney is a recognized authority and expert in the field of orthopedic spine surgery. Among his numerous awards and accolades, he has been selected as one of The Best Doctors in Collin County and Dallas by D Magazine, and featured in Becker’s Spine Review as a Spine Surgeon to Know. We invite you to contact us today and schedule a consultation to discuss any questions you may have – including the benefits of a cervical plate or cage. We look forward to seeing you soon!


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