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fusion not healing

miss grumpymmiss grumpy Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hi, can anyone tell me their experience of having cervical ostioathritus and stenosis, and having a fusion that 4 months on still isnt showing signs of fusing, my right hand was numb pins n needles and weak, so they decompressed and fused with cage c6/c7 they told me that the disc above had gone and the rest in my neck were bulging, at a previous appointment.
now i have numbness in my left hand and the tops of my feet. what happens? do they eventually fuse all the neck will i be out of pain. wll i be disabled? im having a scan in 2/3 weeks and will see the surgeon again after that. i know no one can give advise but i would be interested in your experiences.
thank you so much Tina


  • O:) I can only tell you my experience w/fusion of neck. My c4-c7 are fused w/cage. I have limited mobility, still have numbness/throbbing in right thumb. I was not able to return to work, because I can't lift over 10 lbs, I can't sit or stand long periods of time because of the burn in the neck and shoulders. However, I have read lots of successful stories. Every story is so different.
    Keeping you in my thoughts and wishing you the very best.
  • hi thats very much how i am, the burning in the shoulers and neck as well, but i only have a single level fusion, i was told that over the next few years i will need more, i dont get why they dont just fuse the whole lot and get it over in one op rather than spred it over a couple of years, then i wuold be out of pain quicker surely.
    tina :?
  • :? Not sure "why?" did you ask your doctor? Maybe??? to avoid putting you through such a trauma drama in one surgery? If I had a choice, I would not have wanted to be a multi-level all in one surgery.

    Just ask your doctor lots of questions!! :)
  • The one thing about the cervical spine more surgery is not always better. Meaning doing all of those levels doesn't always mean it is the better way to go. Certainly we run the risk of adjacent disc disease, but also when you fuse cervical spine you are taking out the ROM. AS someone who has gone about this the long way to be fused from c3-c7. The issue comes in that many will have bulges in their spine but they are non symptomatic so there is no need to mess with them. So the key is to find what is symptomatic and address those levels.

    AS far as why your not fusing, there are so many things that go into that. One if your a smoker stop. Sometimes one person will take much longer to fuse than someone else. Did they say anything about the graft is incorporating into either level? Also a rare condition known as psuedoarthrosis can develope, which means a false joint and is not the same as a non-fusion. Did you use autograft or allograft for the fusion. when is your next set of x-rays? Hopefully on the next run you will see some fusion beginning.
  • hi thank you for the info'. they asked if i smoked. def not im a. (or was) a fitness instructer, they used the bone from my neck i believe to fill the cage? they didnt put skrews or anything in i think the cosultant said the bone either side wasnt good enough. i think thats what he said, he came soon after the op to tell me and i was too woozy to take much info in. will i always be in some sort of pain and should just smile and get on with it. :<
  • I had a frozen shoulder with very limited mobility and causing me pain for the last year. After months of physical therapy and pain meds, I had an external manipulation on my shoulder in May 2010. During that recovery I irritated 2 herniated discs in my neck that caused me 24X 7 pain in my neck, shoulder and down left arm and prevented me from being able to rehab my shoulder. I had 2 cervical spine epidorals that did not work in August 2010 and had surgery on my shoulder in Sept 2010 because of the pain it was causing (it refroze because I could not rehab it due to my neck issues). Focused on shoulder rehab after surgery, my neck continued to cause problems and the pain from it continued to be 24X7 with little to no pain relief from physical therapy and pain meds for my neck.

    I had a 2 level fusion of C6 and C7 done at the EDITED on 11/12/10; where he also removed bone spurs that were pressing on nerves. The hardest part was not being able to swallow anything (not even liquids) for 4 and 1/2 days and the 4-day hospital stay, where my patient care in ICU step-down unit was terrible. I lost 12 pounds; 7 in water weight which I quicky gained back but the other 5 are not really coming yet. I can now eat anything I want and could just 1 week out. My soft collar came off 10 days out and I was allowed to drive at that time. I am still stiff but doing the neck stretching exercises my Dr told me to do so I can get my neck mobility back. I still also get very tired very easy but am neck pain free, so I can now go back to getting my shoulder better before it refreezes. I am not taking any medication with the exception of Tylenol with Codine or a Lunesta at night about 3X/week. I have a desk job so was back at it within a week of surgery. I had a 5 pound weight restriction for about 10 days after surgery and am now up to 25 pounds - just in time to cook Thanksgiving turkey! I left the hospital with a Biomet Bone Growth Stimulator (about the size of IPod) that hooks to the waist of pants/PJs and has 2 pads that have electrodes that stick to each side of my neck (even with scar and under ears). I don't even know it is there and have no pain or any sensation felt while wearing this. My Dr wants me to wear it as close to 24X7 for 2-3 months. My next appointment where he will assess fusion is in January 2011. My concern is that I am a insulin dependent diabetic and my Dr said that there are opinions that fusion could be more difficult, although he is not of that opinion. I guess I never thought to ask what happens if it does not fuse but know that I can't go through that procedure again, so fingers crossed because from what I read it would require another surgery.

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    Edited by Authority Member Cath111.

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