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2 previous neck surgeries failing, now 4 level needed: Advice please

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had laminectomy on C7 in 06, and 2 level ACDF on C5-C7 in 08. Now a new surgeon (this one highly rec ortho guy) says the fusion is failing at C6-C7 and I have a lesion at C7-T1, and a rupture at C4-5. Wants to do a 4 level fusion from the back. Anybody here been through that? Experiences you've had?


  • my 1st surgery was 2006 L-4 L-5 S-1 reconstructive surgery 2009 L-2 L-3 L-4 L-5 S-1... terrible pain and recovery but u have to be positive and get up and walk, i have been walking in the pool 4-ever just walking it seems to help a lil i still have pain but most of the burning is gone i have lil numbness has not gone one of my cages has shifted out 5mm but is stABLE AT THIS TIME I HAVE GROIN PAIN AND IN NEED OF AN s-1 JOINT INJECTION but the mind is stronger than the body u have to think positive!!!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I have had 3 previous failed cervical surgeries. So I know where you are coming from. I just had my fourth, corpectomy at c5-6 and fusion c4 thru c7. Cage plate and the works. This time my surgeon used stem cells hoping for a better outcome. At my 6 week check up my x-rays showed fusion happening and my surgeon says I am where I should be at 6 months. Fingers are crossed.
    Good luck
  • Hi gusgg,

    Reading your post I say that is a big surgery. So basically the one level is failing the fusion? What type of material will they be using for the fusion and what was used last time? If i was in your shoes I wouldn't definitely seek some more opinions. When it comes to fusing the spine more is not always better. You will loose a tremendous amount of range of motion in your neck.

    I have gone through the revision surgery posterior and it is nothing like the anterior approach. The recovery is much harder using the posterior approach as it disturbs the posterior muscle. I have three levels fused at this time and a fourth herniated. I am trying everything possible to stay out of surgery at the current time. The little bit of range of motion I have, would like to protect. I have been back to surgery 5 times and now the scar tissue is mounting. So I really don't want to add more scar tissue in at this point and time. I already suffered permanent nerve damage so the chances of making this worse are kind of slim unless it gets into the cord.

    However I don't no in your case how serious the other levels are. After the age of 30 you will find bulges in most everyones neck, that are not symptomatic. I think they should be testing whether those levels are symptomatic, as well. The level that is failing will more than likely have to be fixed. What type of testing have they done to see what levels are symptomatic. Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide to do. I do hope you get that second opinion though and if those don't agree get a third. Take care
  • Well, they did a 2 level ACDF last year and the C6-7 level is the one that is failing. But the C4-5 level is ruptured with both cord and nerve impingement. Bone spurs coming at that level from the other side. I've got 3 levels where the foramen are closing off and need opening up. And the C7-T1 level disk is fine, but a cyst/lesion (he said definitely not tumor) has formed and is on the nerve root on the left side. His basic philosophy is this would be the third neck surgery in 4 years and we need to fix all that's wrong at one time including reworking the 2 level from last time. I know the posterior approach is worst though. I had a laminectomy 2 years ago at C6-7 the first time and recovery due to cutting through the muscles is much worse than the anterior approach. I do have a high level of tolerance for pain and his advice was to wait as long as possible to have this done for many of the same reasons you've outlined. What I'm finding is that even though I have a high tolerance, it's getting to the point that I'm "adjusting" my daily life to accommodate it. It's like it's my new normal to not be normal and I miss my old self at only 47 years old. But I'm also aware that touching any of God's handiwork is always the last choice. Thanks for the input and any additional thoughts are always welcome!

    Edit: Forgot to add, this is a second opinion; this time from ortho. NS did the first 2 surgeries. And this guy comes as one of the most highly recommended. My primary care physician sent his son to this guy to have his work done so I'm fairly comfortable with him.
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