Three Degree Cervical Plate
The risks of cervical fusion procedures can involve injury to structures adjacent to the cervical spine, including the esophagus, trachea, and carotid arteries. Additional risks include backout of screws used to fasten the plate to the front surface of the cervical spine.
The titanium Three Degree plate by Orthofix Spine (Lewisville, TX) incorporates several design features meant to minimize these complications. An innovative drill and screw guide effectively retracts soft tissues near the plate while holes are drilled into the spine and screws are delivered. Holes in the plate allow us to see the vertebral bodies behind the plate allowing us to place it correctly. Finally, locking plates that fit over the screws prevent them from backing out and causing injury to normal structures after the plate has been fastened.
Cervical fusion surgery typically involves the placement of a plate on the anterior surface of the cervical spine. In very thin patients, the “profile” of the plate can sometimes be felt by the patient when swallowing.
Synthes Spine (West Chester, PA) was one of the first to develop a “zero-profile” plate, the “Zero-P”, which cleverly fits between the vertebral bodies instead of in front of them. Screws to fix the plate to the vertebral bodies go through the plate and are recessed within it.
We typically use the Synthes Zero-P in thin patients whom we suspect may not tolerate a typical cervical plate.