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not fusing post op what next?

miss grumpymmiss grumpy Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hi again :))) another question been mulling around in my head. what operation do thet do when the cervical fusion doesnt take, people keep saying i will have to have another op will it be a repeat of the acdf or do they do somthing totally different does anyone have any idea.


  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Not sure exactally what you originally had done .... but I can tell you my failed fusion story.

    In October of 06 - I had a two level ACDF fusion completed using donor bone. I was in a misguided desire to return to work and had my Neurosurgeons
    office "rubber stamp" a return to work note for me 12 days after my procedure. Was what I thought and told was a no big deal 1 night stay over "simple procedure". I did have some immediate relief to the numbness in my thumb and thought all was well with the world.

    By six weeks the pain and numbness had return and I new something was going wrong. At my 8 week check up there was no fusion noted. My neuorsurgeon basically said it could take up to a year to fuse and to not worry about it.

    Not trusting his calavier addtitude I started checking in twith other Drs. in had pain management consults - and in October 07 had facet injection X12 that provided no relief. After running the gamut of pain specialist and neurosurgeon in April of 07 I had an MRI that showed what was really going on. I had non-union of the previous "fusion" ... the donor bone had compressed down into my vertabrae ... I had a new heriation at the level above and a bone crowth in front of the fusion that caused the entire contruct to bang into my cord everytime I swallowed.

    My orthpedic surgeon put the film out the screen and said .... "we will need to redo the whole shabang" it was actually music to my years because after a 1.5 years of knowing something was wrong .... i was finally moving towards resolution. In May of 07 in was hositalized for 9 days .... i had 4 procedures over a 3 day period of time. They started Friday and finished on Tuesday. I was in the ICU for 3 days. The result was what you see in my advatar. a Three level fusion anterior with two level corpectomy and posteror rods .... harvesting of my own bone from my iliac crest. (Hip). The resulting pain felt like I had been hit in the back of the nack - top of shoulders with a baseball bat .... several times. Fusion took place within 6 weeks.

    I now am dealing with chronic pain after that surgery and a nasty little anterior - posterior stenosis at the level above my fusion (adjacent disk disease again) and a possible new lumbar herination from an auto acident I was in two weeks ago.

    So in summary - fusion can fail - cadaver bone can be rejected - metal can be rejected or incorrectly sized - we can be less than optimal patients - and many other reasons that can lead towards additional post surgical problems. Bottom line .... if you have a great relationship with your original surgeon - put the issue squarely in his hands to resolve - if you have any doubt about that surgeons abilites seek out other surgeons and specialists to assist you in deciding what should be done next. This doesn't always mean additional surgery. Physical Therapy, alternitive treatments, and prayer should nver be discounted. I hope that this provided you with somehing of benefit. Please keep us posted on how your are doing.

    Warmest regards,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • thank you, your reply s a great sorce of comfort to me, !i had an alterior decompression and fusion with cage at level c6c7,on 28th june 2010. they used bone fragments from the surgery sight i believe.they are going to scan me on the 1st dec! im so glad i wont have to wait as long as you did, am i right in thinking the scan is the best way of knowing whats happening in side? another concern is financial. i feel pretty disabled at the moment but im hoping that will all change when they find out whats wrong, i can walk loads but my hand grip and arm streight is not very good a tall so work for now is out of the question, finances are a big worry, not sure if im sick, disabled or what.
    my prays go out to everyone of us struggling through. >:D<
  • well if another surgery is not another option, how about a scs for pain? I refused to be fused 3 level L4-S1, most pms just wanted to do inj, and refused to try a scs until I got fused then they would...I held out until I found a PM that ...scs those were the first words out of his mouth, with my age, type 2 and steroids raising my bs to 4-500, that wasnt safe for me or my body. I am so thankful I fund him whome was looking out for my health, and not just his wallet. I asre he soesnt do this for all pts he does do inj and other treatments, and the NS agreed this was the best option for me, as I ue 4 to 5 hydrocodone a day, and he said it would just keep taking more and more drugs to control my pain, maybe adn hopefully with the scs, I can decrease my meds if not eliminate them all togather, I will take each day as it comes. BUT I cant wait for Nov 23, my perm date for scs. Rose
  • hi ya what is scs? i dont have clue. :)))
  • SCS stands for Spinal Cord Stimulator - a device that is implanted into your spine region to help reduce pain.

  • no ones mentioned having one of those fitted. i hope it doesnt come to that.
    Tina :)))
  • Hi Miss,
    I just had fusion on c5/c6 level last tuesday with a cage and they too used bone from that area where they shaved off the stenosis. I'm curious about why they did an anterior surgery instead of a posterior surgery. My surgeon went in the front because he said it would be much less invasive. Let me know O:)
  • hi, mine was in the front as well, i dont know why maybe its safer or easier? im very new to having this sort of treatment, and lucky to find this sight if you look through there so much helpful information.
    good luck with your recovery. :)))
  • lol...I think I'm getting my medical terms for front and back mixed up. I'm glad to hear yours was from the front too.

    I agree, this site has been a big help. I wish I knew about it when I had my lumbar surgery last January. Please keep us posted on what's going on with your follow up on your fusion. Since i'm just starting recovery I will really want to hear how you are doing!
  • lol. well if i could go back 5 months i would definatly not! have moved house packed boxes scraped wall paper etc i would have settled back and taken a back seat, so to speak.which is probably why its not fusing yet, so next time i need surgery i will definatly follow my surgeons advise to the letter! :))) i hope you have some great people to look after whilst you recover.
    Tina :)))
  • Hi, I had cervical surgery in the past, and both times they went in from the front.
    My NS told me because all the nerves in your body are going down your neck it would be to risky to cause possible damage to them.
    So it's easier to go in from the front and safer, to just move things aside and do what they have to do.
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