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Thread: Cervical Fusion

  1. #1
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    Cervical Fusion

    I am interested in hearing about successes/failures regarding high level fusions. My son, Ryan, has a fusion from C1-C5. He is a completely incomplete C2. his neck was fused about a month after his injury because his neck was not stable after being braced for a month.

    Time travel three years and he has so much more function that the original god (read neurosurgeon) thought he would ever have. Shoulders are weak but he can bring his head down to his hands to wash his own head. This is causing a real problem because it is straining his neck. He wants so badly to be as independent and make it work.

    A new neurosurgeon (one I trust-recommended by the doc who has been his PCP post injury) says that unless he can strengthen the supporting muscles, he may need to be fused to a much lower level.

    My question (long coming I know) is has anyone else experienced this? We have been so far and he is so incomplete (bladder and bowel function in tact) that I know a fusion to T6 would limit his independence so much and that is what we have fought (literally) so hard for.--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

  2. #2
    Elizabeth, I have both posterior and anterior fusions from C2 to T4. The surgeries were done when I was 21 — the anterior was done first, and the posterior six days later.

    The fusion really doesn't affect my independence at all, it just required me to adapt how I did some tasks (e.g. looking behind my vehicle when driving).

    If you have specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them here or through private messaging.
    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


  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    So I am assuming that a more localized fusion wold not have worked for you at the time of your injury. Ry's injury is at C-2 The bone instability was actually at C-1. The tip broke off and traveled into his brain stem in the four weeks it took the doc to stabilize his neck.

    The real SCI problem is the lack of shoulder function. He is compensating by bringing his head down and obviously tucking his chin to his chest in order to perform any of his ADL's that require reaching to his face or over his head (eating, putting on a shirt, washing his head, etc.). I see these things getting harder if his fusion has to go further down. Would that not inhibit his ability to bend over to reach his head?--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

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