“Plates” are metal brackets which are used to strengthen fusions.
cervical plate looks similar to the “mending plates” sold in the local
hardware store. It is a flat piece of metal with holes for several screws.
Cervical plates are now usually made of titanium. The screws, also made of
titanium, have lock nuts so that they don’t loosen.
After removing a disc in the neck, one generally replaces the disc. The
disc can be replaced with a mechanical device or with a bone spacer. The
mechanical device, called an artificial disc, is still experimental and
may have significant risk. The bone spacer is simpler and probably safer.
It fuses with the neck bones over time. To strengthen the bones after
placing the spacer, a “plate” is installed. The “plate” holds everything
tightly during healing. The plate doesn’t need to be removed. It will not
set off metal detectors in the airport.
The most important question for you may be, “Why do I need any
surgery?” Many problems can be treated with conservative measures.
Consider a second opinion if you are unsure.