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Thread: surgery on c2 vertebrae

  1. #1

    Exclamation surgery on c2 vertebrae

    Hi! Im 21 and was recently in a car accident that broke my c2 vertebre in 2 places. I have been in a large brace for 6 weeks (not a halo) and when I returned to my doctors today he told me that there was absolutley no evidence that the fracture was healing and suggested surgery. He wants to put 4 to 6 screws in my neck and use some cadaver bone to help the original bones fuse together. I want to know if I should be seriously worried about paralysis or anything else, and maybe some of the long term effects of having this done. any answers are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    I am not an expert --others may weigh in.

    However, if you're in a brace then everything is very stable. No bone is in the spinal canal, and if paralysis was even foreseeable then the surgery would've happened immediately after all concomitant life threatening injuries were stabilized.

    C2 is above the critical vertebrae, if the paralysis occurred then a ventilator would be required to live.

    The surgery will be a standard operation and risks are present, but I don't believe concerns over paralysis should persist.

    But, it is also very normal for these injuries to take a long time to heal, and you can ask your doctor --neurosurgeon, if your doctor is a PCP or a GP or someone other than someone who specializes in these injuries then you need to get second opinion--what the risk of waiting for it to heal on its on are.

    Personally, I would be concerned about the general anesthesia risks (I've never liked going to sleep and counting on waking up).

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaMichelle View Post
    Hi! Im 21 and was recently in a car accident that broke my c2 vertebre in 2 places. I have been in a large brace for 6 weeks (not a halo) and when I returned to my doctors today he told me that there was absolutley no evidence that the fracture was healing and suggested surgery. He wants to put 4 to 6 screws in my neck and use some cadaver bone to help the original bones fuse together. I want to know if I should be seriously worried about paralysis or anything else, and maybe some of the long term effects of having this done. any answers are greatly appreciated.
    AnnaMichelle,

    If your C2 fracture is not showing any signs of healing after 6 weeks, you need surgery to fuse it. Most neurosurgeons probably would have fused you when you came into the hospital and the CT showed that your C2 vertebrae is broken at two places. It is pretty gutsy for your surgeon to choose to wait.

    In my opinion, your risk of having spinal cord injury is higher if you don't get this fixed than from having the surgery. Your neck is very vulnerable with a C2 vertebral body with two fractures in it. Even if you have a halo or brace, you are at risk of a catastrophic injury if you fell.

    What are the consequences of surgery and fusion of C2? Your surgeon is likely to fuse C1 and C2. If he fuses your C2 vertebral body to C1, this may restrict your head turning somewhat. C2 is called the axis and C1 is called atlas (i.e. after Atlas, the poor guy that holds the globe). C1 pivots on C2.

    You should have your surgeon explain to you which procedure he is planning to do and what the consequences are. Modern methods of fixing C1 and C2 are quite safe and pose little risk to your spinal cord and generally have a very high (100%) fusion rate. You will heal faster and get on with your life.

    Wise.

  4. #4
    Thanks for all the help, it makes me less stressed about this surgery. I believe it will be the right thing to do to go ahead and go through with it because as of here latley when I go to lay down at night ive been getting dizzy. I dont know it this has anything to do with the break but im sure its connected somehow. I will let you all know how the surgery goes! I will be so glad to get out of this annoying brace

  5. #5
    Good luck to you and keep your positive attitude. You will still have a little ways to go but you are definitely on the right track. Let us know when your surgery is and how you are doing.
    CKF

  6. #6
    Best wishes with your surgery and healing, AnnaMichelle - welcome to CareCure.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaMichelle View Post
    Thanks for all the help, it makes me less stressed about this surgery. I believe it will be the right thing to do to go ahead and go through with it because as of here latley when I go to lay down at night ive been getting dizzy. I dont know it this has anything to do with the break but im sure its connected somehow. I will let you all know how the surgery goes! I will be so glad to get out of this annoying brace
    AnnaMichelle: I wish you good luck with your surgery. Any surgery can be scary; I remember when I had my fusion i was very scared my fusion was c5-c7 so not the same level. Ask lots of questions, get a second opinion if you feel more comfortable. Take care of yourself and I am sending some prayers you way for a successful surgery and recovery!!

  8. #8
    Thanks everyone! I will keep you updated. Im going to be sure to ask the doctor which ones he plans on fusing together because im not so worried about losing my up and down motion as I am my side to side motions. I want to be able to drive once this is over lol.

  9. #9
    You should be able to have an idea of how much motion you will lose, but ask your doctor. He/she will have an idea of how much to expect to lose. Also, ask if there is anything you can do to prevent losing more motion.'
    CKF

  10. #10
    AnnaMichelle, my anterior and posterior fusions from C2-T4 never kept me from driving. Installing and learning to use convex mirrors can help you compensate for any reduction in your range of motion. It's all good.

    Best wishes for a successful surgery and fast recovery.
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar


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