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got a new mri this is interesting

justwondering2010jjustwondering2010 Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I got a new mri yesterday, my mri is VERY interesting..and my new dr called me right away after getting the report, the report says I have a SCREW pressing on my spinal cord at the side of C3-4disc level and suggests and neurosurgical consult asap...my neurosurgeon who did the surgery told me I had irreversible cord compression and released my and basically told me to live with it.. so I went for a 2nd opinion and am finding this out? seems very interesting. also very scary to find out its a screw that is causing my bouts of temporary paralysis and problems evidently. I also have a herniated disc at C3-4 and C6-7.
So surgery will not be able to be avoided for me as hoped, due to the screw being where it is, i'm just hoping it has not done any permanent damage,this has been a roller coaster ride for me, and its starting all over again.


  • Wow Justwondering!

    I am glad to see you got another opinion. I would be a bit P-od, and too very concerned. Do they have you set up for another appointment to let you know what options you have? I'm glad that they found out what is most likely causing your problems, but kind of a scary thing to find out! Support *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • basically he has said surgery has to happen to get the screw out of there, there is swelling in the area, there is also disc herniated at C3-4 where the screw is at. and at C6-7 also. I am going in on Tuesday to talk with the Dr. to see what we are going to do, and to have the weekend to talk it over with family.
  • Wow!
    Really makes you crazy doesn't it? So am I understanding correctly that your first doctor may very well have seen this and chose not acknowledge it?

    Was it your new doctor that ordered the 2nd MRI? Wait, I best not jump to conclusions here. This screw did not show compression on the first MRI?

    Grrr...examples such as this...the medical community is making me crazy.

    I am so very glad you did not accept the first doctors opinion and give up. Good for you! I constantly hear and read about people who are told "it is what it is, feel better." Aggghhh...

    I'm sorry you have something wrong but glad they found something wrong. Ah, does that make sense?

    Let me just say, here's hoping you are on your way to getting things fixed and the damage is not permanent.

    Do keep us posted!
  • my first dr seemed very puzzled at my last exam and i was only supposed to have xrays and after reading them he sent me for mri's then he kept questioning me was I sure i don't smoke, and stuff like that, never have smoked, then he says I have spinal cord compression, stenosis, and its nothing he can change , that by putting in the donor bones and harware he did relieve some pressure but can't relieve all the cord compression, but I have no fusion , and had the surgery in jan 09, he told me in aug 09 that he was starting to see minimal fusion in one of the bones. the mri from yesterday shows no fusion at all and the screw pressing into the spinal cord at C3-4 level and the disc at that level is also herniated. which that disc was supposed to be one that was herniated before and was already taken care of . but for some reason wasn't?
    At this point our main concern will be removing the screw from the spinal cord area, and the C3-4 and C6-7 discs that are herniated I am assuming will be fixed at that same time, but since I do have a failed fusion also I am also assuming that this is going to be ALOT bigger surgery than before?
    anyone with experience on failed fusion?
  • It sounds like (if I am reading what you've posted correctly) that your first NS is basically trying to place blame elsewhere, and too trying to understate that there is a problem? Like Frog said, good for you for sticking to your guns! It is looking like your new NS is not afraid to point out what is wrong, and then show possible solutions of same. :-)

    "Revision surgery"... I've asked the very same question as you. I am almost 8 months post op from my C6/7 fusion, and there is a crack still under the screw in my hardware at the top of the "new" fusion location. My NS lets it go at least a year to see if it will fuse on its own, if not, then intervention may be in order. After asking here, and then asking my NS, yes it is much more involved many times. For me I was told they would go back in the front, remove the hardware, remove much of the old graph and cage, put in another, then they "flip" you over and go in posteriorly and shore it up with rods and screws to make it more stable. Posteriorly is a bugger in itself to heal from, so both front and back I am sure isn't a thrill! I am hoping I won't have to go through it, but I do have it in my "what if" column just in case.

    I hope you get good news on Tuesday, and continue to feel good with this new NS. It sounds like he may be a good fit this go around? Take care. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi just,

    I didn't have a failed fusion but rather psuedo, which the results are similar. Anyway I went through the revision surgery which is posterior surgery using bone from my hip. I can say the surgery is a little bit harder to recover from. But if that plate went in from the front they will have to get it out from the front. Typically to fix a failed fusion they go in from the posterior side. So you may be looking at a 360 surgery. I myself need a surgery like that now as i have a hardware issue with my plate, but it is work comp and there is some legal issues to debate on it. Anyway if I can be of any help don't hesitate to pm me. Take care.
  • After pseudo (failure to fuse creating a false joint) the first time, I had a revision plus some other work. Nope, it is not fun at all, and I'm still struggling.

    I'm wondering if the screw was causing the compression initially or if it has worked its way there in the recent months due to the non-fusion issues. When the bone graft fails to fuse, this can cause enough instability that the screws begin to wiggle loose and they can end up moving into the spinal cord. I'm in no way excusing your doctor here, but it is possible that the screw wasn't compressing the cord at the last mri. Of course it could have been placed wrong all along.

    I have read where some members have a revision from the front only. I hope you are able to get away with doing this, as it is easier to recover from. Of course neither way is easy, but posterior is much longer and more painful.

    For my revision, they actually removed the plate anteriorly, took out a couple of vertebrae (similar to corpectomies), added a titanium cage holding bone graft, and another plate, flipped me over--or as my doctor said gently turned me over-he only "flips" pancakes, removed more bone from the back side, added more hardware, rods, pins, etc. and then woke me up to discover what my new normal would be, ha ha. So yes, it is much more involved.

    I would question if they need a CT scan to determine what is going on with the fusion process. Technology has evolved so they can do 3-dimensional CT scans that show a lot. MRIs are great for soft tissue, CTs are great for bone structures.

    Good luck with whatever needs to be done. Keep us posted.


    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I am hoping we can go thru the front like they did before, I am trying to patiently wait until tuesday, its not easy, I have been having so many issues that were unexplainable until now and its been so aggravating, I could be walking and suddenly lose feeling in one or both legs and fall to the floor, and have had several times including today, when I have turned my head and my neck has popped and I have gotten light headed and had to grab someone or something close to keep from falling, I have nearly passed out from this, several times. and they have had no explanation for it. until I had this surgery this NEVER happened.
    My new Dr. told me that the compression could be the cause for these issues. I will update when I know something Tuesday, I am scared of another surgery, but each time I lose feeling in my legs I am afraid that the feeling may not come back again, so either way, I have to do something.
  • I hope the best for you.

  • I've real all these comments and I am wondering at what point does it go from being a complication of surgery to error on the part of the doctor?

  • Kris,
    I am with you. I just don't know. Ask any attorney. They will tell you Malpractice is one of the very hardest cases to prove. But honesstly when I read this stuff I just wonder...

    I wish I had some concrete thoughts. I just hate to see and hear about people suffering when the Medical community that they trust lets them down so.

    When does it cross that line?

    I guess Medicine is an Art not a science?

    Wondering, Please keep us posted and I do hope you are able to get relief. I am so glad you did not accept what your first doctor told you!
  • I had the Posterior surgery on Aug 4th, and my first surgeon told me I had total fusion, and just needed physical therapy, that he could do nothing else..so that's why I went elsewhere, after getting a myleogram, and it showing everything, I went in for surgery, and got several levels fixed again, and had a piece of bone removed that was compressing on the spinal cord, along with a screw..So I am almost 3 weeks out of surgery and having SEVERE headaches and pain, they have given me Soma and Oxycodone, and Topamax, I'm not getting alot of relief, i'm also sleeping with ice packs on me almost all the time, I also am wearing a bone growth stimulator 20 hours a day. This one is NOT as easy as the first one..not at all.
  • Justwondering...

    Sorry to hear you are having headaches. From what you described earlier as to the levels to be done, this is sadly probably part of the healing process. Of course if they get really bad, call your doctor and let him know. Hopefully they will start backing off - I hate headaches!!! Glad to see you are on the other side, and hopefully getting better day by day.

    Now the big question. Are you headaches aside, seeing a positive change since the surgery? Take care, and big supportive *hugz* to ya!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sounds like how my situation was with BOTH lumbar and cervical... Had 1st lumbar surgery and soon after developed a new nerve pain. Dr. then ignored it and I even complained that if i touched screws on right side I could feel intense spinal cord pain. Which I knew feeling from having a cord compression. Well my hardware was moving so did NOT fuse found new Spine Dr and re did fusion.

    Had my cervical fusion very close to lumbar and had that one fail also. That was and anterior. With having new disc compressing and failed cervical fusion I had that redone also. That was a night mare cause I woke up with misplaced hardware on left side and pain was so so intense Had to have it removed the same day just on left side. So I guess I have had failed fusion with loose hardware.

    I am sorry you are in pain now and YES the POSTERIOR is so much harder then anterior, I was pretty upset cause no one told me HOW much harder it was then anterior. I hope you feel better soon. As for the pain and stuff I see you are on Soma which is a good muscle relaxer but there are a few designed for spinal cord issues, have you tried Tizanidine it is great because you can take more than 3 pills a day. So on bad days you can take 6 pills works great another is Baclofen same thing up to 6 a day. Not sure what dose of Topamax you are on but I found 200 mg daily to be effective. Oh and my Dr would have me take tyenol with the soma it helped me relax more and works great with it for sleeping.

    Also I do not know what type of bone stimulator you are on but I found that I was getting the migraines from my stimulator bad. I used Orthfix It may be causing the headaches, just a thought. Sure praying for a speedy recovery from your recent surgery. I would be happy to help you out with any questions or concerns you may have, after having 15 surgeries in 4 years I think I have been threw most good and bad with surgeries, and Dr.s ugg had been threw alot of bad ones to find the good ones..

    God Bless,
  • I am not scheduled to see the surgeon until 6 weeks after the surgery date, and the pain is going up the back of my head into my ear area, and i'm having severe headaches, Just wondering if anyone else has had a bone growth stimulator, I'm wearing it 20-23 hrs a day,its really aggravating, but having a previous failed fusion I'm trying to do anything they tell me to help this time. I don't want to go thru this again, I am finding that trying to do the least little thing as far as household things, if it is causing much arm movement is starting immediate muscle spasms in the shoulder areas, I am taking 350 mg soma for it, and when i called the dr they suggested giving me something else on top of it and i said no, but no i don't know what to do, because Its still happening, so any suggestions will help..my spasms are pretty bad in the shoulder areas, my meds are 350 mg soma every 6 hrs, percocet 10/650 every 4-6 hrs as needed, and topamax 200 mg a day. I also have baclofen 20 mg, but haven't been taking it, because it was giving to me by the pain clinic before i had surgery, and i haven't been back to pain clinic since i had surgery, i'm not supposed to go back until after i see the dr after the 6 week check.
  • Oh man do I remember those spasms and headaches. I think it is important for you to get those spasms under control. Try to ice your neck and shoulders, and use heat at other times. Sometimes ice-heat-ice works for me. When you use your arms, it does pull on the neck muscles. You need to get those spasms under control so that you can heal. If it were me, I would call the nurse back and tell her you changed your mind and would like something else. Also, do you have a TENS unit? That could possibly give you some relief. Just something to ask about.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I'm struggling here on a sunday afternoon to do some cleaning a cook dinner, and my mom calls and says you mean your not healed yet? I just paused and counted to about 5 and said its been 3 weeks, and no i'm not healed yet..she proceeds to tell me I always did have a slow healing process, and probably anyone else would have healed already..lol..OK...I tried to tell her that this surgery was alot different they went in from the back of my neck and had to redo what didn't work the first time, and also fix some other damage, so it wasn't the easy surgery I had before, and compared to this one, the first one was easy..in my opinion.. sorry to vent she just really hurt my feelings. I have a 4 yr old, and home alone all day with her, Til husband comes home from work,and have been since 2 days post op, with no help from anyone, and they wonder why i'm not healed yet!!!!!!
  • I am going to call the Dr back tomorrow, to see if they want me to use the tens unit, I do have one, the nurse who brought me out the Bone Stimulator told me not to use them together, so I want to ask first, and also ask about the other medicine, since the spasms are not going away, I feel like if I could get them under control I could start feeling better, but at this point, they are happening most of the time, anytime I have much movement, or stretching out in my arms to stretch the muscles.
  • I hope the added medication will help you. Bless your heart. Wish I could help you (by screening your phone calls.....grrrrr....that ticks me off).
    Hopefully you can get those spasms under control and things will begin looking up for you. Best wishes.
  • There is require to do the exercise as meditation like Yoga and Pranayam which increase the counts of the breath in deep and increase the oxygen level.


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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • I am sorry to hear about the spasms I had them for a long time also..

    Here are a few things to think about and maybe ask Dr for different meds to help.

    I have found Valium is great for muscle spasms..
    heat and cold is important like Cindy said, I would use the tens unit for a while when taking off bone stimulator to atleast give the muscles a little bit of treatment. also there is therma heat pads you can buy in stores that have adhesive on them and I used then for my shoulder neck area so I could be up and about with the heat on. As for the Soma there are better muscle relaxers that are designed for spinal cord nerves, Zanaflex is one and Baclofen is a wonderful one also. Soma is very mild compared to there two. Also what does of Topamax are you on to have the full effect of drug you should be taking around 8 pills, I found this one the best out of the 3 major never meds use. Since it is a nerve blocker, and a great med. for migraines. I hope you find relief soon and the healing process is a speedy one for you....

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