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Failed Fusiion

libby724llibby724 Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Besides the Dr telling you (he hasn't yet I see him on the 14th) how do you know you have a failed fusion. I am getting scared that this has happened to me. I was great for 7 or 8 months now some of my pain is back if I overdue it a little (and the doctor said I had no restricitons) I am in pain for days. I was just wondering if anyone out there with a failed fusion can guide me to what I should be looking for.....I guess I am tired of being in pain and grasping at straws. The surgeon did send me for a myelogram (in November) and he still has not told me the results I will see him on the 14th hopefully I will know something. I would just hate to have gone through all of this and then have it fail!!!


  • I have gone through a failed fusion. It was actually psuedoarthrosis a bit different that a failed fusion. One the signs is the return of the symptoms. Since you are a multi-level fusion the odds are much higher than on single level fusions. Did you use your autograft or allograft bone? Do you smoke? The only true way to dx it is through imaging studies. The myelogram will give the answers they need as well as seeing anything that could be on a nerve. Did your surgeon ever mention how your fusion was coming along? You could always get a copy of the imaging report ahead of time and look at it yourself. The 14th isn't that far away and I do hope that you don't have a failed fusion as the revision surgery is much harder than the surgery you have gone through. Keep us posted.
  • I know its a short ways off but the pain in brutal...but no I don't smoke and I used donor bone not my own. And he has been telling me that my fusion was "looked good" the whole time. But when I went to see him before he ordered the myelogram he did say well I see something that I need a better look at I can't tell what it is.....so hopefully these films will give him what he needs.
  • Hello,

    I have C4-7 front surgery 12-8-08 with plate, cage and 8 screws, three months later I started having new neck pain on the opposite side of my neck and in the next 6 months the pain got so bad I ended on disability and they said my plate was loose and my neck did not fuse. So on 12-2-09 they went in the back of my neck and put rods and screws with bone graft from my hip.
    I went through six months of pills, PT, x-rays, CT, MRI, Bone Scan before they said my plate was loose. I found out THEY could not tell from all of the tests but said it was my pain level and looked at a X-Ray I ad taken 8 months early that showed the screws were loose. So much for our Medical doctors hun?
    The good news is they said my neck will fuse now but my pain level may not improve, won't know for another couple of months.
    Don't ever give up and don't ever let the doctors try and tell you how you feel, tell them.

    Good Luck

  • I see my surgeon tomorrow hopefully he will have good news for me. Today makes one year that I had surgery and for about 9 months of it I was pain free...Lets hope the myelogram shows nothing and this pain is all in my head!!! LOL

    I am actually looking forward to a Dr's appt....How bad is that! But either good or bad news I need some relief from this pain hopefully he will have some answers tomorrow.....
  • Good Luck Libby.

    Hugs :)

  • Well I am not a failed fusion as a matter of fact I am fully fused now....so thats the good news. Basically the Myelogram/CTScan shows:

    At C7-T1 level there is a right paracentral herniation of the disc slightly encroaching over the ventral aspect of the cord with mild flattening. Minimal degenerative anterolisthesis of C7 in relation to T1 is seen. There is moderate effacement of the left foramen and the left exiting C8 nerve root, suggestive of left sided foraminal disc protrusion superinposed by uncovertabral hypertrophy. Moderate left sided foraminal narrowing is present.

    Whatever that means is what is causing my pain he said its not bad enough for surgery YET!!! And he put me on Lyrica (anyone Good/bad experiences with that drug) and said if this doesn't work in a month have your primary Dr refer you to Pain Management see you in a year....so as far as he is concerned its a success I am not so sure. He did say that "as mess up as my neck was I am in pretty good shape now". So basically unless this gets worse and I need surgery he is done with me!!! And what he sort of told me is learn to live with the pain!!

    Thanks Doc!!!
  • I am sorry Libby. I hope the nerve meds help. If they don't I hope that you consider getting a second opinion.


  • I would give the meds a try. I just had surgery that sounds like what you have. Mine was at t1/2. The surgery is nothing major but it is still surgery. So far my pre-surgery pain is gone but I have tingling through my whole arm now. I am hoping this is just due to swelling.

    Think carefully and try other solutions before rushing into this surgery.

    Good Luck
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