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Fusion is a surgical procedure used to correct problems with the bones of the spine (or vertebrae). A fusion essentially “welds” or joins two or more vertebrae of your spine together. During the procedure, Dr. Cluck places bone or a bone-like material within the space between two spinal vertebrae. Metal plates, screws, and rods may be used to hold the vertebrae together, helping them to heal into one solid unit. Spinal fusions are done for various reasons, but are most commonly done to treat:

•    Abnormal curvatures of the spine

•    Severe arthritis of the spine

•    Weak or unstable spine

•    Injury or fracture to the spine

Dr. Cluck protects the nerve roots and safely remove the material (bone spur, cysts, etc) pressing on the nerve. After the pressure is relieved from the nerve, a bone graft is placed along the back of the spine, allowing the two vertebrae to grow together as one solid unit(fusion).

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)


The incision is made in the front (anterior) of the spine through the throat area. The herniated and/or degenerative disc and bone spurs are removed.  After the disc is removed, a bone graft is inserted to fuse together the bones above and below the disc space. 

The goal of the proceduure is to stimulate the vertabrae to grow together into one solid bone, known as a fusion. The goal of the procdeure is to reduce pain and other symptoms

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

An ALIF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Dr. Cluck removes the disc, then inserts a bone graft into the space where it was removed. This, in turn, stabilizes the spine. The fusion creates a rigid column of bone which ultimately can reduce pain and other symptoms.

eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Unlike traditional back surgery, an XLIF® is performed through the patient's side. By entering this way, major muscles of the back are avoided. This minimally-invasive procedure is generally used to treat leg or back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. It can be performed on an outpatient basis. This procedure does not require and anterior or posterior exposure. 

Dr. Cluck


Dr. Michael W. Cluck is a recognized expert in the surgical management of spinal disorders including herniated cervical and lumbar discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, arthroplasty (disc replacement), and spinal stabilization and fusion for traumatic and degenerative spinal instability and deformity.

Dr. Cluck and the Valley Spine Care team are highly trained experts in minimally invasive spine surgery that will return you to an active, pain free, lifestyle in the shortest time possible.

If you're in need of a neck and back surgeon in Merced don't hesitate to get in touch today!

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