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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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hi hadamsper,
I am a 38yr old female and in January of 2009 I had a c5 c6 fusion with a titanium plate and four screws put in. My own bone was supposed to grow and fuse within a year and unfortunately that did not happen. Today I saw my dr for my ct and mri results. My pain has returned in my neck and all the way down my left arm and the burning. She asked if I smoked because that is the number one cause of non fusions and I told her I quit four years ago so that would not be the cause. She explained that its rare to not fuse in a one level acdf but for some reason I always get the rare things happen to me. Anyway I will be getting a 2nd surgery because for me I do not wish to live with this pain. For my 2nd surgery they will go in through the front again through the same exact scar and remove the old hardware and screws and replace them with new ones and I am not sure if they are going to do something different this time in regards to using a donor bone or what till I meet with the ortho surgeon. I am scared yes about having a second surgery however I am also scared to do nothing about it and not have surgery. I was almost paralyzed before my first surgery from the disc that had herniated because it had compressed my spine so much and I don't wish for anything like that to happen again so if I can do something to fix it now before anything gets worse that is what I would rather do. There are always pro's and cons to any situation and I just think in this case the pro's outweigh the cons. I am glad to have found this forum, there is alot of useful information. I hope you are able to come to a conclusion you are comfortable with that will work for you and will in the end be able to alleviate your pain.
Sorry you are having issues with your neck. I have had 3 surgeries on my neck. All three from the front going in from different areas. (Looks like I was in a good knife fight) lol. So as far as multiple surgeries go, I can tell you mine did go well. My first two fused solid ( BTW, I was smoking almost 2 packs a day when I had my first two surgeries and fused with no problem. I know I am probably the exception). I had my last surgery for the two levels inbetween about 3 weeks ago. Everything is going fine again. So there is hope for you. :) I would caution you about going back into work where heavy lifting is involved. I know that is easier said than done. I had to quit a real good paying job of 13 yrs after my second surgery and get a desk job. Mine was not workers comp. So I dont know how that will work for you. But if you go back to heavy lifting, it will cause stress on the levels above and below the surgery level. This is called the Domino Effect. If you look at my signature, I am a walking example of this. I have just about my whole neck fused now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I will be happy to share anyway I can. *note* let's please not start a conversation on this tread about smoking and ACDF surgery. We all know you should not do it. Thx. Take care,

Hi there. I had C5-6 ACDF and failed. I had a second posterior fusion at C5-6 with wiring. Something was really wrong with my first surgery, so my second surgery, although more invasive, seemed like a dream. I was off work for 7 weeks after my second surgery. Unfortunately, I think this one has failed, too, which I'll do a different post on. I really didn't have any complications after my second surgery. I did have to rest quite a bit for at least a month, lying down about once every 30 minutes. My neck muscles in the back were just very tired and sore. Ultimately, after the initial surgery pain, my pain wasn't that bad during recovery. I was in the hospital for one day. After the first night, the surgeon sent me home because I was doing so well. If I had to do it again, I probably would have spent an additional night in the hospital because it was pretty hard to get in and out of bed at home. The hospital bed would have helped me get up.

Because I was in so much pain, I actually welcomed the second surgery because it had hopes of lessening my pain. Make sure you find a very good surgeon that you are completely comfortable with.

I echo the others that you should really be careful with lifting such heavy things at work. If you get another surgery you could do damage again if you go right back to that. Please be careful.

Just a suggestion, evaluate with your surgeon any other areas that may have problems. I had an ACDF C5-C7 in 2006. At the time C4 was showing some signs of eventually being compromised but the doctor decided not to include that level in the fusion. Given my history of stuff not holding out too well I should have pushed for C4 to be included (there's a possibility I'll have that done this year). So, if they are going in again be sure to see if adjacent levels can be added if needed. Especially if he's going in from the front (which is preferred as via the back of the neck is a bit more painful). If I could go back in time I'd have insisted on adding C4.

Also, ask your surgoen if he will prescribe a bone growth stimulator. I was prescribed one, insurance paid for it, and I wore it 4 hr a day for 6 months. It helps the bone grow to enhance and accelerate the fusion.
I hope everything works out well for you hadamsper.

I finally met with my surgeon today. Since I did not fuse from my acdf done January of 2009 he will be doing a corpectomy. Is anyone familiar with this?
I just want to be out of pain.

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