Cervical facet fusion for control of instability following laminectomy

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Cervical laminectomy may compromise the stability of the spine. Posterolateral facet fusion can be used to stabilize the spine after laminectomy and prevent progressive deformity. The procedure includes passing wires through drill holes in the articular processes and binding two longitudinal struts of bone to the posterior columns of the articular processes. Sixty-three p atients with cervical laminectomy and facet fusion were reviewed, and fifty-two of them were followed for one to seventeen years. The reasons for fusion were to control overt spinal instability and deformity or to eliminate motion which may contribute to spondylosis. Solid fusion occurred in fifty of fifty-two patients at a mean of 6.5 months and provided continuing stability without progressive deformity. Although facet fusion is a complex procedure, it provides secure stabilization, does not interfere with decompression, and permits early mobilization of the patient.

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