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possible posterior cervical fusion

richja10rrichja10 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello all,
This is my first post and i am hoping for some good opinions. In February of 2011 I had sustained an injury to my neck lifting 2 full 5 gallon pails of paint over the side of a pickup truck. Obviously before that fateful day I really did think I was invincible, but apparently not. Anyway, the mri that i had in the days following showed that i had herniated discs from c2 all the way down to c/7. C2 to c5 were relatively minor but c6/c7 was very severe, pressing greatly on the spinal cord causing pain i had never felt before. Unfortunately because of workers comp the surgery to repair this did not happen until June of 2011, at which point i had an anterior cervical discectomy fusion on c6/c7 with plate and screws and a cage (no bone). In the months that followed i never really felt much relief. I mean it felt better than February through April when the pain was at its worst but after the surgery the pain was almost the same as April may and June. Looking right to left is doable but painful. Looking down is relatively pain free but i swear i can feel the plate and screws. It is extremely painful to look up or reach out or overhead and my right hand is still numb. I have had several follow up appointments with xrays which show the plate and screws moving. My surgeon says I have some fusion but not complete fusion. I just had another mri on 11/18/11 and another follow up on the 28th. The mri showed more bone spurs and some compressed nerve roots at the c5/c6/c7. My surgeon suggested another surgery- a posterior cervical fusion this time. I have the utmost confidence in my surgeon so i most likely will have this procedure done, but since i went into the first surgery pretty much blind i was wanting to hear experiences and opinions from anyone who has had this done. I hear its a much more invasive surgery with a much more extensive recovery time. Also i am really wanting to know if i will ever enjoy a normal life again, and by normal i mean pain free. By the i am a 36yo male.

Thanx for listening.


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and unfortunately you will find others including myself that have had multiple surgeries. Your surgeon is telling you the truth that the posterior surgery is more painful. I myself have had several posterior approaches, and the worst part seems to be the muscle spasms and of course comparing it to the anterior surgery is harder recovery. What type of bone grafting material will they be using? Is this a redo of the fusion you have already had, and adding additional levels in? Do you know which levels they will be covering in the posterior side. I would assume they are placing Rods this go around? The plate that is moving on the anterior side what will be happening with that. If they put it in anterior it can only come out that way, so they won't be removing that from the posterior side. Do you know if you will be wearing a brace or collar post surgery?

    Another piece of information that comes to mind is depending on the degree of issues at the other levels, by fusing levels you place additional stress on the other levels. This would be called adjacent disc disease when they fail. Have they talked to you about your probabilities of that happening.

    As far as will you ever have a normal life? Well unfortunately none of us can really say. However I have seen some members with multiple levels get enough pain relief that they are out living normal lives. One thing to keep in mind when reading forums like these, are that those whom do well from surgery, no longer post as they are busy with normal everyday life.

    The good news if you have researched your surgeon and have full confidence in his/her abilities that is half the battle. Be sure you follow your surgeons restrictions to the letter. Many cervical patients begin to feel better and kind of let the restrictions go by, to only suffer set backs. Another important thing is to walk, you can google walking programs, and find some fairly good ones such as 10,000 steps.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to pm me. Hopefully after this surgery and some recovery, you will be out living a normal life. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    You will hear the horror stories of the posterior surgery being so rough but for me it wasnt that bad with the exception of getting out of bed every morning. I gave up on that and had a hospital bed delivered. You will feel pretty bad for about a week and then it seems to get much better. The muscles become very aggravated with this surgery. I am sure your surgeon will have you on a good muscle relaxer. Remember as soon as you are able to walk, walk and walk some more. It speeds the healing and keeps everything from tightening up. I have about a 12 incision from the top of my neck to my shoulder blades which healed very nicely and is barely noticeable. Good luck and keep us all posted
  • Thank you Tamtam and susan.
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