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1 yr post op c5-c6 fusion, 2nd surgery???

cnmfarmccnmfarm Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am one year post op from a c5 - c6 fusion with hardward that didn't fuse. My surgeon now tells me it is not going to fuse and that the pain I am still having is never going to get better. The pain is crippling, neck, shoulders, arms, as well as numbness and tingling all the way down to my fingertips. Now he says the only relief I might possibly get is thru a 2nd surgery, to add more screws to try to anchor the screws and plate already in my neck. But the success rate of this second surgery is not too good. Without it he says this pain is all I have to look forward to for the rest of my life. I have already done injections, pt twice, taking gabapentin and pain meds as well as muscle relaxers for the spasms.
Has anyone had this second surgery done and if so had any relief at all?? I am losing hope..



  • I am so sorry to hear about your pain! Have you had a second opinion? I still have pain eventhough I'm fused. Being completely fused does not guarantee the elimination of pain. Get another opinion before you jump into another surgery. Never lose hope!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I'm sorry you aren't fusing in your neck at C5/6 . Was it plated and screwed, to hold the disk insert in? Was it your own or a donor bone. Do they know why its not joining and can't they do anything about it. I wish you all the best and I hope your pain is somehow relieved.Best wishes.
  • Before going through another surgery, I would definitely try to find other surgeons to review your case. Research and try to find out if a surgeon is a "spine fellow". If you can find out what hospitals or surgeons/practices are particularly known for difficult cases, even if you have to travel some if you can.

    When I was trying to figure out where to find a surgeon, there were a couple of large reputable hospitals in the area, and their neuro and ortho departments provided that information could be reviewed, and then get an appointment as appropriate.

    I am so sorry for your pain.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • I had a fusion on C5-6 back in 2006. Even though the donor bones fused, I only had pain relief for 6 months. Things just started to fall apart again for no reason. I then ended up with severe stenosis, but a year later the stenosis went away. Go figure.

    Karen, I noticed you had a Laminectomy and discectomy at L4-L5 recently. It looks like I am heading for a similiar surgery in the near future. I am scheduled for an injection to verify diagnosis. I'm just curious on how you are doing since your recent surgery.

    Take care.
  • I am curious how you developed severe stenosis? Did you get more bone spurs or did the donor bone cause the stenosis? My surgery was 1 year ago and I'm still having symptoms and some of them feel just like spinal cord compression again! Getting a MRI on Friday to check what's going on in there!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I don't know how I got the severe stenosis in my neck. My best guess is another herniated disk that got better. Or maybe it was just the way I was lying down when they did one MRI versus the other.

    I'll have to pull the reports and see what they both said.

    I recently had an MRI for my lower back. It did not show the spondylolisthesis at L4-5. It did show alot of other things. My back doctor had an x-ray done in his office that showed the spondylolisthesis - I had to be standing.

    It makes me wonder if my neck MRIs would be different standing versus lying down.

  • I am curious, because I am still having pain - some old and some new. I agree with the laying down versus standing up. I don't usually get burning pain until I get out of bed. I hope I just have a disc bulge or something that will resolve on its own over time.

    I had surgery due to the myelopathy and with bone spurs on the spinal cord that would never resolve on its own. I am wondering about your MRI report, if you don't mind letting me know what you find. Thanks! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Thanks all. My surgeon is an ortho neuro guy, supposedly one of the best in the area. I drive 2 hours to see him. The hospital is a private surgical facility and was outstanding, by far the best hospital I have ever been in. It is plated and screwed with donor bone. My PM Dr , who is also a neurologist and not affiliated, agrees with my surgeon concerning the 2nd surgery.
    Surgery is scheduled for the 19th and I am seeing my Dr. again tomorrow. Still, i am having a lot of doubts about this 2nd surgery. The pain today is off the charts, rain makes it unbearable so it's hard for me to think of everything I should be preparing to ask him. We've already discussed it of course, but this time I want to be better prepared and more confident about the decision to go ahead with it. Right now I'm not feeling all that confident. Many days I feel almost panicked and want to cancel. Then days like today..I can't live in this pain any longer. And to top it off I am finally having my psych eval this week as well that I've been waiting for concerning the neuro-stimulator my PM Dr had planned to implant before the decision was made to do the 2nd surgery. But both Drs now believe it won't give me much relief since the cause of the pain stems from the failure to fuse. It's all a little overwhelming. And frustrating is an understatement.
    I would appreciate any suggestions on what I should be asking tomorrow? Thanks!

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