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Anyone here with 3 levels fused in neck and you feel good?

Faith MFFaith M Posts: 287
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm still having alot of neck and shoulder pain since 3rd fusion in Januaury. Just wondering if anyone out there feels good after 3 levels being fused. After the 1st two fusions I felt really good, but not this time. Dr. is suggesting I've already blown the next disc up even though he said it would be 5 years. :/
Faith M


  • This makes me extremely sad and upset...I hope you feel better Faith.

    I honestly can not understand with all the technology now days why doctors keep saying that fusion is the (Gold Standard) yea Imagine that they obviously dont come on the cervical section of this spine health forum..

    Considering the bio-mechanics of the neck how could anyone feel "good" again..

    I can see maybe 1 level...but 2 or 3 just doesn't make sense to me...
  • I've had a 3-lvl fusion and I honestly can't say I feel great. I'm ok, but I still have spasms in my back and pain and aching in the back of my neck.

    My latest follow-up x-ray shows that there is some movement in one of the joints in my neck, which isn't good, but the doc said not to worry unless I start feeling some of the old symptoms.

    I have to agree with JDKE to an extent - how can a person ever feel great with three replaced disks, a metal plate and 8 screws in the cervical spine? The neck just isn't that big!

    I'm still glad I had it done, though, because I know the nerve damage would've been permanent and that was just too bad to live with forever.

    Hope you get to feeling better.
  • Hi Faith,

    I also had a 3 level fusion in January. I just saw the Dr for my 6 month visit and I am 80% fused. I am doing great I am finished with Physical therapy. I do occasionally have a bad day but they are fewer and far between.

    I am glad I had the surgery and am just about back to normal. Although the Dr did say it takes about a year to reccover from this surgery.

    PM me if you have any specific questions will be glad to help if I can.
  • Hello,
    I had C4-7 anterior cervical disectomy, fusion, partical copectomy & instrumentation, plus a lot of bone spurs, it took six hours. By Feb I was doing great and returned to work. The doc said I could do anything I wanted. I started having pain turning my neck to the right by Mid March and it has gotten so bad I'm back on pain and muscle relaxers three times a day. I had a MRI done last week and will see my surgen next week, something is very wrong with my neck, the pain is a lot higher than before the surgery. I hope whatever this is he can fix it quick, this is really effecting my work life and home life.
  • Thank you all for your replies. I don't regret having these surgeries. My fingers aren't numb anymore and I can use my right arm again. I am no longer in SEVERE pain and I am grateful for that. Like Cath I feel okay but not great, some days are worse than others. I was 100% fused at 4 months and Dr. was disappointed I still had pain. It took 3 months for the 6 numb fingers to go away. I know nerves can take a long time to heal so I'm hoping I just need 6 more months to see more improvement. I never expected to feel great. But feeling okay is the best I've felt in years. Cath and Rick, I am so sorry you are both having new issues with your necks, please take care and know my thoughts are with you. I feel for you both. Rick, after my 1st surgery my Dr. said to go back to my normal activities(he didn't ask what they were). So I dug holes,planted bushes and reherniated the disc. Can't believe your Dr. said you could do anything you wanted! Good luck Rick. Libby, I'm so glad you're doing well! Thanks for sharing...
    Faith M
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    4 levels and I take it day by day.

    Bless us all.

    No one should have to go through this.

    But here we are.

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Bless us all. Thank you D. and bless you!
    Faith M
  • Hi all,

    A neurosurgeon has recommended 3-level fusion for me: C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7. I have a little pain, but more concerning to him is that a huge portion of my left pec has atrophied to nothing and I'm showing atrophy & lack of strength in my left triceps. I've had chronic pain & weakness for years, but a more dramatic atrophy & change in strength came from an Aug 2010 visit to the chiropractor. So the surgeon wants to get the pressure off my nerves before the damage becomes permanent.

    Here's my dilemma: I can still function. I'm weak, but I'm not debilitated. My left index finger & thumb are tingling & numb most of the time, but I can still use them. On one hand, I'd like to have a chance at getting full strength and dexterity back in my chest and hands. If there's a very high chance of success with a 3-level fusion, I'd love to not be the wimp I am now (I used to be a competitive weightlifter but now can bench the same as I could when I was 12). On the other, bench press is far from the most important thing in the world to a 45 year old man.

    So I'd like to hear from anyone and everyone:
    - Did your 3-level (or 2 or 1) turn out great?
    - Did it turn out horribly?
    - Everything in between
    - Also, if surgery was recommended and you said no way, and it turned out well/poorly, I'd love to hear from you too.

    Range of motion, pain, recovery time, strength, anything else?

    Thanks so much in advance!
  • I was 45 when my problem started, 2 herniated discs.
    I had surgery about 2 years later after trying everything else possible. I had a successful fusion, lost the constant nueropothy in my left arm but a pain I had in the rt rear of my neck got way worse.
    They have never been able to diagnose why I have the pain. It's been 10 years now, disabled, on pain meds and muscle relaxers and anti inflamatories. So my C5-7 fusion solved some, made some worse and I'm not able to do much without major pain retribution.
    You story L sounds like you need to do something, getting a 2nd opinion a possibility? The fact that your working with a neurosurgeon is good, I had my repair done by an Orthopedic surgeon and will regret it the rest of my life I'm affraid.
    Good luck
  • Hi; in my case i had a c3/c4 fusion in 1992, and a c6/c7 fusion in 1995.
    I have a physical job, and i'm glad i had it done.
    I too had the pain,weakness, and all the other goodies that go along with that, and after the surgeries everything went back to normal for me.
    I'm now off with a 2 level lumbar fusion, but thats a whole nother story.
    Hope this helps you with your decision, and good luck to you.
  • c4-c7. My surgery was back in March and I still have a lot of pain. Never not been on medication. The numbness and tingling did not go away with surgery.

    Wish you the best!!!!!!
  • Hi, nice to meet many of you 3-level people.

    I had 3-level ACDF with no hardware, bone implant fusion: C-2/3, 3/4, 5/6 removing bone spurs encroaching spinal cord, symptoms for radiculopathy over 12 year slow progression prior to surgery: hands/ fingertips numb (left pmore severe than right); 2 months neuropathy episodes sporadic left side of body facial down to legs lose sensitivity but not function.

    1995 Post-surgery success on all symptoms; immediately after surgery for left side of body sensitivity never occured again; hands/fingertips resolved gradually from 2-3 mos. post-op and fully resolved by 12 mos.

    2005 advanced DDD at C-6/7 multiple bone spurs forming on C-4/5 thru C-6/7; largest formation at C-6/7; radiculopathy gradually progressed from mild episodes to severe on left hand/fingers by 2010

    Surgery assessed: C-6/7 T-1/2 anterior plates and screws; C-5/6/7 T-1/2 possible T-2/3 plates & screws;

    OS (highly specialized c-spine only surgeon, complex surgeries major univ. 25 yrs exp.)withdrew in proceeding with surgery: neuropathy symptoms from fused C-5 bone spur ridging, C-6/7 T-1/2/3 requiring 2 complex bridging of c-spine levels to t-spine; highly likely to not allow for remediation of neuropathic symptoms.

    In process of getting 2 NS assessments for assessment and prognosis of neuropathy and neuro-muscular damage to left arm/hand/fingers and beginning loss with symptoms in right hand not in arm yet (all occurred in 6 months and continuing in episodes resulting with more severity of loss of function arm strength; hand/fingers function and sensation.

    Considering my compromised c-spine had deformed/malformed bone/tissue, partial vertebrae C-1/2/3 which had severe scoliosis, disease of arthritis began in early 20's remaining c-spine; 41 yrs of age 3-level surgery;

    I had 10 yrs. post-surgery fairly good pain management only after trauma of mva's was I compromised (4 mva's 3 rear-ended; 1 broadside driver my door); I am 15 yrs since 3-level fusion surgery and 14 yrs free of chronic neuropathy !

    I suppose I should feel blessed; but a 6-month progression of neuropathy after surviving recoveries of pain/neuro-muscular injuries of mva's, I am looking at major compromise and disability unfolding of which it is highly unlikely 10 hrs of complex bridging with two approach surgery would reverse what nerve root compression has already taken at C-5/6/7 + bridging c-spine and t-spine adds much risk on the table. Updated MRI CT scans are to be reviewed as to where spinal cord thecal sac deformity status stands.

    Now I'm preparing myself physically and emotionally in most likely I will be "living with" a neuropathy progressing with bi-lateral nerve root compression and facet arthropy and hoping I do not lose as much of my right right hand and arm as I have in my left. I just turned 62 years young.

    God bless all of us and our spine journeys!

  • Hi there....I had a 4-level fusion with donor bone, plate & screws on 11/3/10. As far as the left arm pain goes, which is the main reason for surgery, when I woke up in recovery, the pain was completely gone! The bad part is that I developed severe right hand pain in the hospital, which got better over a couple of days, but then developed severe right arm pain and numbness/tingling in my thumb, index, middle & ring fingertips within 2 days of coming home from the hospital. I'm still working with my pain Dr on this and attempting to figure out what has happened. I'm having an EMG next Tuesday, and will also be seeing my neurosurgeon Thurs (12/16). I had cervical spine x-rays on Monday of this week & on Monday afternoon, received a call to schedule a CT scan of cervical spine. According to the neurosurgeon's office staff, "something showed up on the x-ray & Dr want's a CT scan". I'm having the CT this morning at 6:30am. I hope to have some answers tomorrow as to what may be going on.....maybe they've even seen whatever it is that's causing my right arm pain & finger numbness/tingling. That would be just what I'd like to hear, as long as the fix isn't something huge!!!

    So, to sum up everything, had I not developed the right arm pain, I could honestly say I'm doing fantastic. I had very little "surgical" pain, and I never did hurt where the incision is. I'm still glad I had the surgery, just wish I could get the right arm issues resolved. If I can do that, I'd say it was a huge success!! My best to you, Faith, and to all who are contemplating surgery, and also recovering from surgery!!!!
  • well i had a c3-4 4-5 6-7, on September 29, and i still get mild headache, i have 9 or 10 screws, in my neck and 10 in mt back, i was in the hosp a day and a half had to get outts there, yes shoulder pain i can relats they geve me a spinal stimulatot i wear it daley for 4 hourds so i can fuse but i feel i can sit up a lil longer, and i feel mch better i am still recoving, and still in some pain all aroud, still cant sleep n my bed i sleep in the couch for the last yr!!! i still have numbness in my hands! on and off!!!! but overall getting there, god willing dont give up, i started walking right away, even tho it hurt soo bad and the soreness , please hang in there everyday it does get better!!
  • Thanks so much to everyone for posting their results. It sounds like NO ONE really feels good after the multilevel ACDF--maybe all those people have never felt the need to come back to this website?. I'm very much leaning toward doing nothing. I can live with being weak and having muscle atrophy (I'm a 45 year old male, former athlete but at peace with those days being long gone) but I don't want to introduce chronic pain, extra stress on the disc levels above & below, and extremely limited range of motion. At least not until I absolutely have to.
  • I had 2 levels in my neck done more then 1 year ago. I have no pain no numbness and no problems at all! I even forget I had the surgery from time to time. I work a hard labor intensive job and long hours with no problems at all.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    When I am asleep .... during the waking hours ... its a craps shoot and a pharmacutical battle till I am blessed by the sleeping fairy again.


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • It does appear it's a mixed bag and with many who overall did not get any / maybe some relief, and as well as known with surgery and the trauma risk and post-op pain syndrome, there are some reporting worsened pain.

    Want to highlight my experienced, see my post back a few days ago...

    I DID have a relief to my symptoms for 10 yrs!!!

    Re: Progressive DDD 10 yrs post-op

    Free of radiculopathy symptoms, however, mva trauma neuro-muscular pain 8 months eventually relieved;

    next phase was dealing with advanced DDD and handnumbness in hands, left hand worse began
    (multilevel nerve compression C-4/5/6/7)

    Re: Successfuly Relief 10 yrs

    I had 10 yrs of mild episodic numbness to chronic numbness in fingers and hands just prior to surgery; in a year that was fully resolved - - which was very good!

    Also whole left side of body neuro symptoms (loss of sensitivity) episodic which alerted us to 3 bone spurs encroaching spinal cord was when decision made to do the 3-level ACDF

    That was relieved post-op COMPLETELY - never returned!

    Note: I had BONE IMPLANT for fusion & stability ACDF - - NO HARDWARE - - I personally believe allowed my spine to be more relieved of symptoms and less post-op symptoms / syndrome. (My opinion plus what my NS confirmed as well)


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