Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

I may have cracked bone graft - 18 months post-op

jben55jjben55 Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Looking for advice and recommendations.

I finally went to my OS after 6 weeks of intractable neck and head pain. Initially tried PT, ice/heat/ice and prolotherapy 2 session without success. Upon examination I am presenting neurological issues such as radiating pain through traps/shoulders, swelling at C7 spinous process,cervicogenic headaches, tingling in my right hand and localized trembling of a vascular nature. He was alarmed at my X-ray showing that my C6 C7 allo- bone graft did not look anything like the C5 C6 bone graft in that there appeared some movement, cracking and/or some degree of shape deformity. He did not want to jump to conclusions and immediately ordered a CT Scan.

I do not know the results and am rescheduled to see him on Wednesday. He stated that I may not have fused after all although he told me so in Jan/2010 and gave me a full bill of health without any limitations. I was pain free and very active for a whole year running and lifting weights until 6 weeks ago.

When I informed him of my level of activity, he stated it was not indicative of pseudoarthrosis or non-union but that I may have cracked the graft because my fusion was tenuous. I am genuinely concerned about my options if this is the case such as posterior correction or revised ACDF. Anyone experienced failure of a bone graft and what to do about it?

Please any advice or comments are greatly appreciated.



  • Hi Jon,

    While I have been through revision surgery, I would think if that happened it would depend why the reason of failure as to how they proceed. I would wait to get the results of the CT scan and see what they say before you worry about a revision surgery. But if the graft indeed did crack it is possible to use the same approach and might need to be done as a ACDF if the hardware has moved. I wouldn't worry that any of your activities caused the issue, as with the hardware your neck was very strong.

    If some reason they do need to do a revision. I would ask about bone grafting material to be used, the approach to be used and what they will be doing with the old hardware. If the graft itself fractured what would happen if you let it heal? and or if a bone growth stimulator would help at this point and time.

    Let us know how the appointment goes on Wednesday and what they say and how your going to proceed.
  • Jon,

    Looks like we had surgery at almost the same time! I have dissimilar hardware, and around month 5 post op, I cracked - was discovered 2 ways, x-ray and vocal cords being affected. At a year it was/is still cracked. I say "is" because my voice issues continue. I thought the graph cracked, but my ENT after looking at the x-rays said it was the top of the C6 vertebra! The crack too matches the threads of the bottom screw!

    I see my Neurologist this week to get new diagnostics done to see what is going on - if the crack resolved itself at all - I doubt it as I said, my voice still sucks. Now the good side. Like Tamtam said, the hardware is pretty darn strong, so (going on what I was told) they had me on a wait and see mode.

    I'm not freaking until all the chips are on the table. It's not worth worrying about something until your doctor and you know for sure. Fingers crossed for both of us!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I will post as soon as I know more on Wednesday. Tam Tam, interesting you stated graft fracture, I guess that can happen and I appreciate your comments further because I'm beating myself up that my activities did this.

  • You are right not to freak out, but this is all consuming since I was so healthy just 2 months ago. Fingers crossed for both of us. I wish you the best.

Sign In or Register to comment.