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Having Cervical Hardware removed...Need Opinions!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Everyone!! I am new at this, but need opinions!
Back in 1997 I was in a terrible car accident, and suffered a hangmans fracture, I fractured C1, C2, and C3. They used bone from my hip to rebuild my neck and fused it with wire. I was only 17 years old. I was in the hospital for 2 months and in a HALO for 6 months. What a damper that put on my senior year of highschool, and boy was it life changing. Since my car accident, I have been in terrible pain, no pain meds have ever helped. I have done physical therapy on and off for the past 11 years, I have tried all sorts of injections in my neck. About 4 years later, I started wondering if my wire was causing me pain. I sought doctor after doctor who ALL continued to tell me that my wire could not cause pain. Then 6 years after my accident, I found out my wire had been broken into several pieces. Still doctors told me it couldn't hurt me. Now I am 28 years old with 3 small children, who don't get a mom who can completely be there, because of the pain. I suffer from intense migraines that start from the neck pain, and find myself on a bad day in bed for the night at 2 pm. Thats aweful!!! Anyways, I finally found a doctor who thinks my wire may be the issue. I am due for surgery next Tuesday. I am terrified! Now I am starting to doubt myself, because the dr said this was high risk surgery, paralysis and death are risks. I can't live like this any longer, I have suffered for 11 years! Please can anyone relate or know if this sounds like the right thing to do! I need your help, I am so scared!
Thanks, KIM


  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I'm sorry that you are in so much pain. I'm afraid I can't offer anything to you regarding your situation, as I have no experience with what you're going through.

    Is there any way to get a second opinion? What is your gut telling you about this?

    Take care of yourself and I'm glad you joined us.
  • Hi Cath,
    I've had about 15 different opinions from doctors, only 3 suggest I get my hardware removed, the rest tell me they have no idea why I am in sooo much pain. My gut tells me that I am in so much pain because of my hardware, and I have felt as though this was the problem for years, way before I even found out that my hardware was broken. Thanks soo much for your input and I appreciate the connections!
  • I think you said the magic words. "Your gut tells you." That would be it for me. Although I wish you did not have to have this surgery if you and now this doctor agree that it is the hardware then I would be as scared as you are and happy that finally after surgery I could look forward to the living the life with my children that they deserve. Hardware I'm sure has come a long way since yours was put in and you I hope could be pain free after an upgrade. :)
  • Thanks! I guess I'm just terrified. High-risk is a red flag to me, and scares me to pieces because I have 3 beautiful little ones, I have alot to loose! I pray this answers all my problems! Maybe I should listen to my gut! All the side effects and risks and complications are a little over whelming!
    Thanks for the great input!
    I appreciate it!
  • Hi, Just keep the faith, If you feel like you "gut" is trying to tell you something is wrong, then I, like you, would also follow my own thoughts. Sometimes, I wonder where these doctors go to school. They don't seem to want to listen to us, when all the test says nothing is wrong, but thank goodness, yours finally did. All of our prayers are with you.

  • Hi Joyce!
    I really needed people to tell me to follow what I believe. It's hard when all these years I've been told I was wrong, and then to finally go thru this, it's scary! I have my husband on my back now telling me that "his gut" is telling him that I shouldn't go thru with this! Talk about mixed feelings. So I start thinking maybe he's on to something. This whole process is MAJOR, so it makes every one nervous. I guess if I was having surgery ANY where else in my body to remove hardware, it wouldn't be such a big deal, because the risks aren't the same, plus it would probably be a day surgery. I went for my pre-op appt yesterday and they told me that they do these procedures every day. That makes me feel a LITTLE better about it, but still I am having it at the very top of my neck, where there are precious nerves that keep me alive and moving. It's hard to x out the negative thoughts about this with positive ones. Thanks for your thoughts for me thru this wholr ordeal!
    Much Appreciation,
  • Hi Kim,

    I live in ireland where there really is an attitude of don't operate... unless you have to; but i'm American... and we tend to have a fix it and get on with it attitude.. no lingering about if you know what i mean ;)

    Anyway, 10/11 years ago when my daughter was about 4 my back went... L4/L5 problems. Doing it the irish way first.... i was in hospital for 8 weeks while they tested this, poked that, epidurals, injections, mri's, bone density, disograms, etc...... during that 8 week period my entire Irish side of the family kept telling me not to do the op... but i had the screaming voice in my head that said the op was my only hope, that if i had the op i would have my life back.. not that i Might have my life back, but that I would and the op was the answer. I can't tell you how many discussions, arguments went on, because i really was alone (aside from the doc)in my decision to have the lumbar fusion. The american side of the family... well, they couldn't believe they didn't do the op day 1, and were so surprised they made me wait so long. How does the story end? My gut was right <:P , the voice that was screamed sang for the next 10 years until problems started poking their ugly heads again... Listen to all the advice, listen to their worries (after all their worries are out of love), get practical info, get 2nd opinions, get all your questions answered... and then go with your gut!

    My prayers are with you
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • Thanks Diamonde,
    Wow! Well said. I've done all you've suggested, so as you say now is the time to go with my gut. No matter what any one says, I'm going thru with the surgery. My nerves just have me freaking out. Sometimes I wish my husband wouldn't give me his opinion, it just scares me more. My gut tells me I'm right, and my feeling about this hasn't changed for the past 7 years. I guess since it's finally going to happen it scares me. I've been in pain for so long, what is it like to have your life back? I was 17 when I broke my neck, now I'm 28, 3 kids later, I wonder if I'll feel like I should when your 20. More energy? Happiness? The ability to play with my kids longer than 20 minutes? In a way I can't wait, but boy am I scared!
    Thanks for your advice, it was GREAT!
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