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Thread: Cervical Fusion

  1. #1

    Cervical Fusion

    Talked with an orthopedics specialist yesterday. He shocked me by saying he has quit doing cervical fusions. (This would not include the fusions necessary because of trauma).

    His reasons were that his experience has taught him that doing procedures, especially with "all the metal" people are using today, turns out to be just a preliminary procedure for another, and then another, and so on.

    This was troubling to me, since he is a doctor who has a good reputation. My own three procedures did not involve metal, but the fusion was succesful. However, there was clearly more neck pain, as the motion segments of the spine (disc levels and associated vertebrae and bone/ligaments ie the joints) were altered.

    Has anyone here had cervical fusion, with or without metal, which led to greater neck pain?

  2. #2
    Senior Member marycsm77's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I had cervical fusion at C5/6 6/7 with titanium plate and screws almost 9 months ago, and osteophytes removed. I have myleopathy and had pretty severe progressing neurological deficits pre-surgery which is why i had it, mostly because I had a great deal of problem walking. I still have alot of pain and paresthesias etc in my arm(s) on some days and other days it feels pretty good. I am walking better but not normal and no power in my legs.

    But I DONT have more pain in my neck then before. I have good range of motion, the terrible terrible stiffness and feeling of being hit in the back of the neck with a baseball bat everyday is gone. My headaches are also much less. Used to have everyday. However my SCM muscles in the neck feel irritated all the time, have them massaged at PT.

  3. #3
    had cervical fusion in 1986, at Whittier Presbyterian Hospital, Whittier, CA. C4-C7. my C6 vertebra was 100% displaced by my car accident (impacted at red light from behind by vehicle traveling 80+ mph). transported to what was then a trauma center (Whittier Pres). they put screws in my head and relieved pressure by hanging weights.

    from there they had to await my parents' arrival from out of state to approve fusion. i could still move my fingers and grasp my doctor's hand hours after the accident. but i lost them sometime in first 2-3 days. to my knowledge, never got the drug wise developed.

    the fusion put me in a philadelphia collar, which seemed like hell until i saw the halos at Rancho Los Amigos.

    i don't consider the fusion a bad decision. i have seen xrays of my neck as recently as 3 yrs ago. a metal wire loop is clearly visible to me. what else they used, i'm not sure. but i have had no discernible issues with the fusion. my head rotation is more limited to my left, but not my right. i have neck/shoulder pain, but consider it a nuisance compared to my central pain.

    i have all my hospital records. i still recall my neurosurgeon's voice (or was he orthopedic? i don't know). he was extremely soothing and nice. have often wanted to look him up and just say thank you.

    i do seem to recall dissention between ortho specialists and neuro specialists on fusion vs. halo. i'm pretty sure my doc was neurosurgeon. i know my parents had to choose.

    ftr, my neck has never needed further surgery. it's been 24 years and i am C7, Asia B.
    Last edited by cass; 09-09-2010 at 10:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member marycsm77's Avatar
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    In reading the other post I should have added that my surgery ACDF was dont by a Neurosurgeon who decompressed my cord here in NY, although there was also an Orthopedic surgeon there, worked together.

  5. #5
    It helped me!

    About 13 years ago, I had C3,4 and 5 fused. They used 2 titanium (Haid) plates and screws. They said the metal was only to hold my vertabre segmants in place long enough for bone to fuse. They took bone from my pelvis, ground it up, mixed it with glue and put it on each side between each prepard segment to seed bone growth. They also said that after time, my discs would turn to bone completing the fusion.

    They left the metal in my neck as an artifact of the procedure. It is no longer needed.

    I have no ill effects from the procedure, except bending my head far back, sends jolts of electric shocks and numbness down my body. After an hour, they fade away.

    My fusion was absolutely necessary. My neck was dislocating and broke with one vertabre slipping 7mm. I lost all below the chin.

    The reason was because of a prior MAJOR surgery. I call it part one.

    Four years before the fusion, a large cervical tumor was discovered. It was the size of my little finger, from the base of my brain down to about C4,5. It was inside my spinal cord. My spinal cord was pressed paper thin in areas.

    They had to tear my neck apart, split my spinal cord open and remove the tumor. They cut so many muscles, ligaments, and removed bone that my neck lost it's structural integrity.

    They let me go in that condition. I learned to breathe and walk again. I worked my ass off to be independant. My neck kept dislocating. I had very few muscles holding my head up. Pain would work up to a full 10 daily. Unbearable pain.

    One day it snapped and off I was carried for fusion. Although I had to start over again, (breathing, walking, anything below my chin), I made it back to independance. No more dislocating vertabrae. Just snapping and popping in the remaining unfused ones . I lost a lot of things. I focus and work on what I have to compensate.

    It was worth it!!

    johntom
    C3,4,5....no deltoids.

  6. #6
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    I was fused from C-4 to C-6 three months after my accident in 1981, using bones and metal wires. The wires were removed in 1987, when a laminectomy of C-5 was done to look for a syrinx (none was found.) I now have degenerated disks above and below it.
    Alan

    Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

  7. #7
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    Dejerine, I had two cervical fusions; donor bone and titanium plates and screws. The C3/C4 was done in 2004 and the C5/C6 was done in 2006. I still have what I call "residual pain" but not even close to the pain I was having from the Cervicogenic headaches. I don't regret either one because as Dr. Wise pointed out in another post, the C3/C4 is a very serious level.

  8. #8
    Sorry if this is off-topic, but is it possible that intense shoulder pain on one side could be caused by a problem with one's fusion? Mine is nearly 20 years old now - should I be expecting it to be causing trouble?

  9. #9
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    Scaper, I don't really know. My own fusions are 6 and 4 years apart. I DID have both shoulders lock up on me so to say about a year ago. Orthopedic doc said they had both been "frozen" but were in the "thawing" stage. So, off to PT it was. It took a couple of months but they eventually went back to "normal". Just a thought as I have heard shoulder problems are common after fusions. But I had never had any problems until a year ago. I think though that my activity level did it to be truthful.

  10. #10
    When I had my fusion / grafts I was in a coma and dont remember much but all these years later I wonder why My family intervened because I was ready to leave


    I have diffeculty with my neck because I sometimes feel like the foreighn stuff in my neck makes me sick at times and I have horrible pain no matter what
    Personally I wouldnt go for another fusion again at this point .

    My uncle had his fusion like me and we both regret our surgeries

    Pain is pain
    No 2 ways around it it still is a pain in the neck lmao

    Sincerely ;
    GL

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