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acdf replaced disc is bulging?

Lela1122LLela1122 Posts: 119
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Help! I had acdf surgery June 8th, two new discs at level c4/5 and c5/6. I was has having problems with muscle twitching and called my doctor and thought it was just the Lyrica, my ns is out of town so his partner ordered a ct and mri just to be safe. Today I find out that my donor bone c4/5 is bulging, WHAT the ^&^&(. Has anyone else had this happen???
Thanks Lela


  • Hi Lela,
    Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your C4/C5 level.
    Which muscles were twitching?
    What do they propose to do now?
  • My thigh muscles were twitching and my apper arms and my mid section. I dont know, I talked with my ns nurse at 5:00 and he had 3 more patients to see, so I will hear something tomorrow. At first my ns nurse oh you just have a bulging disc at c4/5 no big deal then I said thats the level he replaced, she then oh thats not good! so she said she would talk with him to see what we should do, a cadaver bone bulging? Really? I cant beleive it, I am so upset, but I am trying not to, its just so surreal!!! Lela
  • Lela,

    Sorry to hear this is going on! *HUG* "Bulging" sounds odd. Did your surgeon use a cage with a mix of bone and OsteoCels? Basically it is a putty of bone mix in the cage - maybe that is bulging? If it was a solid bone graph, then I guess it slipped? Please let us know what your doctor says, especially since you are symptomatic to something going on nerve wise! Please don't freak out until your NS and you talk - it might not be so bad! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey Brenda!! Not freaking out yet, it must be a migration of my cadaver bone! I dont know , will wait to see what the doc says, yes, I am very nerve symptomatic. I will say a couple other things, I have poor posture, I am working on that, but my mid back kills me. I also worked today, housekeeper and the muscle just tighten up so bad! I hate to take the muscle relaxers with the Lyrica, I sleep like the dead and dream werd stuff all night.
    I really dont know what he did in there, he said cadaver bone with titanium plate in the front with 4 screws, I dont know how he did it all altough with as much I know now I would love to know.
    Maybe they told me the wrong level was bulging and its not the one they already fused!!! Ha Ha
    We will see!!! I should know tomorrow!! Brenda how you feeling? Lela Big nice Hug to you too!!!!!
  • Lela!!!! :-)

    I'm glad to hear you are not freaking!! Now a level adjacent that is bulging, though not great, surly would be better news! My NS's nurse doesn't look at the CD's when I bring them, she only reads the reports, and if it "looks bad" straight away gives it to my NS, otherwise they leave it in the patient folder (at least that's been my case) till the next appointment.

    Did you see the report itself? I too had cadaver bone, but it was ground up into powder and mixed with the OsteoCels and put in the cage - odd cage though, I don't see it on X-ray or MRI. Is it plastic or does it dissolve? Humm...guess I might sniff the Internet for that curiosity! (G) Also too if it did 'bulge', it logically could only go to the sides or back as the plate is in the front.

    As to me, heh... I am waiting to do my 1 year x-rays to see how *that* looks. I am then gonna have my GP check me over (in general) and ask her for a new MRI and CT (CT if that crack has changed), and go from there. I decided instead of going to a new Neurologist, I am going via my GP as a start over point for diagnosis, then a new Neurologist. This way my family doctor is fully in on all this. I will then push for a stand up MRI (if I can handle it) for the thoracic and lumbar! Mid and lower back are getting worse, legs getting weird, so GP first, then up from there? :) I know more needs to be done with my neck - just hoping to get the pain levels down more. Grrrr.. Other than that, love the hubby, and retirement is a whole new world! :) *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I hope that you will hear from your surgeon today and that you will discover what is causing the muscle twitching. I hope that it will be an easy fix situation.

    My cage is in two halves and is made of a plastic but it does have a metal wire (?) so that the surgeon can still see it in an x-ray picture. He filled mine with my own bone that he had removed during the laminectomy, ground up and mixed with something similar to BMP. Is that what OsteoCels is?

    I feel like my lumbar fusion was a movie and they are working on the sequel now. I have an appointment with my GP next week to talk about my worsening neck symptoms.

    I am getting worsening pains/cramps/tingling in my toes and spasms in my legs in the morning again. I also get muscle twitching in my calves and arms. I had them before surgery, but then they got better. Now they are back again. My back feels pretty good. :-)
    I wonder if they could be caused by my neck.

    What do you all think?

    Wishing you all a good day and looking forward to hearing how you get on Lela. >:D<
  • Thanks Jelly and Brenda!!! Thanks for the comments, I wolove too sek out answers on the net I am not sure where to really look! The muscle twitching is not as bad, I really think it could have been from the Lyrica, although I didnt didnt see that symptom on their website(lyrica), but was on the government site.
    My ns nurse said the doctor looked at the mri. and said the disc was bulging at the c4/5 area. You are right Brenda it would have to slide to either side or to the back. Weird!! Maybe it wont be a problem, I dont know doesnt sound good though!!

    Jellyhall I read your thread about operating on the wrong level or starting to sorry that happened! I cant imagine, good for you for talking to your doc about it, I cant beleive he wouldnt say something to you right away though...so my story continues I beleive I will be a spiney for life!

    Brenda I think you made a good decision to "startover" with your gp, Sounds like a good plan!!! Can you go to the VA for some of this or is that something you wouldnt do? I am not sure Id want to have neck surgery through the va. but thats just me! As soon as I know I will let you know!!
  • I'm wondering if they used off-label BMP and if that's what's causing the "growth". It might be a good idea to contact your hospital and order your operations report. That can be useful and is good to keep with all your other paperwork.

    Please let us know what you hear today.

  • Jelly,

    In my X-ray you can see what looks like a vertical 'thick' staple sized thing. I am going to guess that might be the connector for the cage, and also serves as a positional marker? From what you said about your cage, it now makes sense! Interesting...thanks!!

    I'm not sure if OsteoCels are a BMP under another name or similar. From what I got when I researched it after my last surgery, it is a mix of my bone and stem cells? BMP's promote bone growth, but a few unfortunate ones have 'extra' overgrowth and then more problems. Next time I see my NS, I will ask if that is similar to a BMP. A piece of me is saying no for some reason, but I truly don't know. I hope you're having a great day!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Lela1122 said:

    < snip >
    ...so my story continues I beleive I will be a spiney for life!

    Brenda I think you made a good decision to "startover" with your gp, Sounds like a good plan!!! Can you go to the VA for some of this or is that something you wouldnt do? I am not sure Id want to have neck surgery through the va. but thats just me! As soon as I know I will let you know!!

    Entrance to the spiney club is like a roach motel, "Once you check in, you don't check out!!" I was in the fine print on the club contract you signed! (G) I think the folks in this spiney club make it worth it!! But of course, I am odd sometimes. (G)

    As to the VA... hehehe...down here? No way! They drag things out, mix people up, and lately don't properly clean equipment after procedures putting all kinds of people at risk (that made the national news). It's sad too, because other areas of the country, the VA is the place to go!! A friend of mine had an ADR at his L4/5 5 years ago, it is failing, and for the last 2 years, they've been jerking him around to the point now the vertebra the ADR was fixed to is deteriorating! He is now going to get a consult with my NS! I hope too much damage hasn't happened!

    I've found times that 'stepping back' makes for a better end game. Or what's that, 3 steps forward, 2 steps back to get to the finish line? :) I think it also put me in a better place brain wise.

    Any chance you can get a copy of the report Lela? At least this way you will know which level or if it is the fusion level for sure? I always get the reports and leave the diagnostic facility with the CD in hand. You're keeping a good neutral attitude which is good. *HUGZ* You know we are here for ya!!!

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

  • As long as the number of steps forward is greater than the number of steps back, we must be moving forward.

  • Okay, so I talked with my nurse at the ns office, basically he gave the nurse the wrong level that was bulging!! My c3/4 level is bulging with mild to moderate stenosis 9mm and is touching my ventral cord! What does that mean? Yet one report does say my c4/5 says mild to moderate central stenosis secondary to bulge, stable compared with my films from Jan. It does say that cm ct scan the stenosis is slightyly more severe 8mm instead of 9.

    This dr. is a partner of my ns, I think I note in other posts that my dr is out of town. He was busy and made a mistake!! Yikes what a mistake!!!!
    Have any of you gone through something like this? Jelly I know what you went through, so mines not so bad but it scared the you know out of me, my new disc had a bulge?? I am just glad it all seems to be okay. Now my concern is 3/4. what is ventral contact? I am going to a party soon and going swimming and not going to worry, it will be okay!!
    SPINEY FOR LIFE!!!!! Hugs and Kisses to everyone
  • Howdy Lela,

    So glad you got it cleared up in so far as "the level", I am sure that calmed you a bit there. Granted bulging stinks, but soooo much better than to have found your graph moved! That is good news for sure right there!

    Now I can only go on what I've learned from my own spiney travels here... The bulge is large, no question there, but it isn't on "the cord" directly from what you posted. The ventral is the outer area of the cord - it does have nerve effects, but not the same as directly on the cord. If someone can word that better, please jump in. :)

    The maybe good news? My bulge on my last MRI was basically the same size, 9mm. My surgeon stated that since I was not symptomatic for issues at that level, that we would watch it, and to let him know if anything changes. Of course I could be lucky in that it never gets worse, same for you, but he basically put me on notice that he is concerned about that level - but that NOTHING needed to be done just yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you aren't sympathetic, and he can have you go through non surgical treatments at this stage. The only difference between you and I, not counting the bulge level, is mine isn't "adjacent" to my fusion, and yours is. So my guess, he is going to look more deeply at it before deciding what is best.

    For sure keep us in the loop! I know you're off to a party shortly, PLEASE have a cold one for me, and ENJOY YOURSELF!!! :) *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey Brenda had a cold one on you!! Your info has helped me a great deal! I am just going to live my life like always just no whitwater rafting, skydiving or riding my favorite rollar coasters at Busch gardens, Montu and such.. I dont know I think I just need to wait and see what the chief ns at the practice that I go to has to say about my films, that might not be unti Tuesday,UGH. I wont be working at all, no making money for me, tears running down my cheeks for that one, I have a daughter going to college! Its okay it will work out, maybe I had that bulge before surgery, why wouldnt he have gone ahead and taken care of it? I have so many quetions and dont know where to start, cleanong for a living is out for me!! Thanks Brenda, your are the best!
  • Yummy, Thanks Lela!!! :)

    I am glad to see you aren't going to work for a bit, or at least until you see your NS next week. As for why he didn't do anything, I hate this phrase, "It depends". It might not have been that size at the time, and too they fix what is causing present problems and not future. I asked my NS the same thing, of course mine would be levels apart too, so that changes things.

    Insurance tends to tie their hands a lot! As you know, we can take a guy regardless of age, MRI him, and he could be a mess via the films, but is a pain free happy pup!!! Conversely, you can have another one with what most would kill for as far as MRI's go, and he is in miserable pain! Weird huh? We're all wired a bit differently, so what hurts me, might not hurt you. Makes sense I hope?

    Remember too Lela, a fusion, even 1 level (as I have found out first hand) changes the dynamics and weight loading on the disks around it, and to some degree a lot of other areas of the spine, as we now might stand/sit/walk differently; affects the rest of the spine, see? More common of course if things are going to go, is the adjacent levels. It sounds like you have a good and patient NS, so hopefully you will have a pretty good picture of what is going on, and what the plan will be. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi Brenda,
    I agree I could have that bulge previosly and it wasnt as big as it is now. I do feel pretty good, some days are worse than ever. My shoulder and widows hump burns, the released nerve hurts and I do get all over body aches, for 44 almost 45 thats young to have all these problems...so the story will continue with me. My ns nurse is the best, shes the one that had to tell me both the bad news and the good news the other day! I even told my ns that I thought she was great and that I appreciated everything kindness she had given me. (after surgery, calling etc) I cant complain. I did go into chat last night at 9:15 or so and talked with a guy newhouse? started with new something (his screen name, nice enough, he had low back problems. Anyway hope your are feeling good today, I am going to another not per se party but a good friend of mine has a pool and my hubby and I are going over to swim and watch the Boston Rd Sox and the Yankess. Talk to you soon>
  • Lela,

    You and I are only a few years apart. I turn 48 next month, and see all the junk I have going on! I know most of my 'activities' (good and bad) contributed to all of this, but (lol!!) no regrets in the long run believe it or not! :)

    My NS's staff is pretty good over all. They call me when my reports come in, because they know I keep it all on file at home, so then they fax them to me. They also know on the few times I needed to get in their "yesterday", instead of waiting a couple of weeks, most times have been a day or two! Psst.. I think they keep a few schedule "holes" for just such emergencies myself! They are also always pleasant when I call or come in - that goes a long way with me!

    Enjoy the pool and the game! Thunderstorms here *again* so my pool sits sadly without me in it! Game and beer, beer and the game...drink one for me! Enjoy!!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am sorry you are having such a hard time! I so understand the frustration of needing to work and not being able to!

    My daughter just got her braces ($$) and is leasing a horse ($$) and when I don't work, I don't get paid...

    After my 2nd surgery, the surgeon came out and talked to my hubby, telling him that there was much more damage than they had expected and that I would need a fusion to correct it. He said he did as much as he could~L3-S1 laminectomy, facet, disc-ectomies and decompressions.....(a total of 7 different procedures!)

    My hubby says he wanted to tell me when I woke up, but......he never got around to it. When I went to see my surgeon the next week 12/29, he thought I knew!...it took along time for me to comprehend the situation.

    I needed to heal from the surgery I had just had, and prepare for another one!

    I felt the same way, why couldn't he have just "fixed it all!" Ha

    Hang in there! It sounds like you have a great medical team! I am a firm believer in faith and fate, everything happens for a reason....

    Wishing you the very best!
  • Thanks Jayhawk! Its tough to not work and then not have anything to back up the money supply! I have to let everyone know its okay, I have been busy getting my daughter ready for college I havent been on spinehealth. I am OKAY, the disc that is bulging is the 3/4 and not the 4/5 cervical level that they did the acdf on in June, c4/5 and the 5/6. Hip, hip, hooray!! I didnt know that the 3/4 was bulging buts thats okay, cleared to go to work, will clean today and tomorrow then off until I come back from Missori, a week from Sunday!! More time to heal. Thanks for everyones support, it has been a long road from when all this pain started in the first place. Lela
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