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Repeat ACDF? Give me your experience, feedback, etc

SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all

You may remember I had my L3-S1 fusion 02/2010 (after L5-S1 in 1987 and then L4-S1 in 1993). The back is reasonably well, although I have a permanent back ache which the doctor says is mostly arthritic type causes. I don't have nerve pain often it's just an ache that can get worse if I overdo it.

So now we are looking at my neck. The spine surgeon did an xray of me looking down a few months ago and C6 isn't fused as it should be from my C5-C6-C7 fusion in 2006. And C4 is in bad shape. So I may be headed for a C4-C5-C6-C7 fusion, possibly as early as March.

I'm looking for experiences, advice, thoughts, etc. My first ACDF was really easy. I expect it may get harder the second time around?
2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 


  • SpineAZ,

    I'm the opposite of you in that mine is C5/6/7 - the C6 vertebra cracked through around month 5 post op. I am just hitting a year from that crack. In March I too should know if revision will be put on the table plus my C7/T1, and rear locking into T2. I've had 3 spine specialists say it is highly likely.

    How do I feel about it? Mixed actually. Pissed that the bone cracked, but relieved that they have a plan that should work. My nerve damage is permanent, and more may occur. I have sought out counsel with Tamtam as she has had like 6 cervical surgeries, and the last a major revision. From what she's advised me of, the revision is front and back for the stabilization.

    The recovery due to all the muscle and such they have to cut through from the back is brutal. I am not looking forward to that aspect. But I guess SpineAZ, we both have to look at this side of the crappy neck coin. Is it more of a risk to do it, or no? I'm not sure for me given that most of my symptoms have returned, plus I've most likely reherniated twice now to the left (all before was to the right) if I want to risk *not* doing it.

    Not sure if all this helps, but that's the boat I'm in, and looks similar to yours.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The question is how what approach would they be using to do a re-do anterior or posterior? Then what type of grafting material would be used? Myself I have had multiple cervical surgeries, and depending on what they are doing would depend on the response, basically. Many redo's are done posterior and as many including myself and my surgeon will say it is much more painful. However, it is not unbearable. You always know it is surgery pain and will get better. Sense I have had bone taken both posterior and anterior for surgeries, I would much more prefer it take posterior, less pain.

    The other question would be what about the anterior hardware, if they would go posterior? If they use the anterior approach again would they use your original incision? My best advice is if you can avoid the posterior approach, you will be better off. For myself sense they have been in three times on the posterior side I ended up loosing the posterior muscle.

    It kind of defies logic that posterior surgery is harder but it is. I am kind of shocked to see the formanitomy that was done and you weren't fused from the prior surgery. I would have thought at that time they would have been doing something about the the non-union. I assume it is a non-union and not psuedo?

    The good thing is you have done the drill and know what to expect. The bad thing is each time the enter just creates more scar tissue and the obvious risk. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.
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