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Are the metal plates (after cervical spinal fusion) supposed to be sort of crooked?

I had my cervical spinal fusion on October 15th. I had follow-up xrays today and from the back you can see the plate but it's kind of crooked. Is this normal? I'm such a nervous wreck!
C-6 C-7 Cervical Spinal Fusion October 15, 2012


  • it can be normal but to really get the straight scoop ask your surgeon. If you think about it I don't think it really matters as long as its there and anchored down correctly. JMHO
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 11/15/2012 - 6:30 PM
    Bkins is right the plate does not have to be straight but I wouldn't ask the surgeon from my experiences LOL
    I went in for the first check after fusion of C5-6-7 and they did X-rays to make sure everything was in place. The resident doing his spine surgery tour came in, put the X-rays up and my plate was at a angle I asked him why it wasn't straight and he explained how tight the area was they were working in and they just place it where they can access it drill it and screw it in. I am a contractor and straight and level means a lot to me so jokeingly I said maybe I should buy the surgeon a square and a level for Christmas which was just a few days away. He thought it was funny but when the surgeon came in the resident told him I was going to get him the square and level. The surgeon did not see any humor in it.
    So yes its normal and it doesn't make a difference as long as you get a good fusion. Once you have a good solid fusion the bone becomes solid and strong and you don't need the hardware at that point.
    I hope you have great results with your fusion and have a quick recovery. Kick back relax as much as you can and give everything time to heal.

  • Thank you both! Rick that's so funny! I guess the surgeon's don't have a sense of humor when it comes to their work. I'm figuring as long as it's holding and doing it's job then what's it matter if it's crooked. Thank you both so much for making me feel better, I was a wreck about this yesterday, you've really eased my mind.
    C-6 C-7 Cervical Spinal Fusion October 15, 2012
  • Yes, my hardware (I had a 3-lvl fusion C4-7) is also crooked. After my first post-op x-ray I asked my surgeon about it and he said the same thing Rick's said. So I imagine most of them are crooked to a point - they have to find just the right place to put the screws so they'll be solid and it might mean having to put the plate in crooked a little. No worries.

  • My x-ray is hysterical looking how crooked it seems...

    They gave me a fun "credit card sized" x-ray to keep in my purse just in case I set off any metal detectors...LOL...Since it's titanium...it really doesn't happen but it's a fun thing to pull out and show dates or at parties...hahaha...

    So...don't worry at all!! Deep breaths:)
  • Joe241JJoe241 Posts: 185
    edited 11/16/2012 - 5:03 PM
    Mine is crooked also and my surgeon never said anything so all is good. Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • Awesome, thank you all so much! I need to get a card that says I have metal in my body cause I have a brother in prison and they need that card. My mom has metal in her foot so she has the same card. Though she had not trouble at the airports in April when we flew to Florida they said it's good to have on hand just in case. Like I'm concealing something in my neck, lol!
    C-6 C-7 Cervical Spinal Fusion October 15, 2012
  • Kristine
    At least now you can truly say if my head wasn't screwed on I would loose it.
    Just take it easy and let things heal well before doing to much and don't worry
    Your surgeon will be checking for any problems on your next few visits.
    Don't worry be happy.

  • Mine is a little crooked too. They always seem to be.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Thank you everyone! You helped me feel a lot better! I saw my neurosurgeon for my follow-up at 5 weeks and he said everything was great and I could go back to living my normal life just go slowly. I didn't ask about the plates I saw him look at the x-rays so I'm guessing it's all good. At least I hope so, lol!
    C-6 C-7 Cervical Spinal Fusion October 15, 2012
  • I have had problems with my shoulders/blades since having multiple level neck fusion. A Sports medicine doctor think's I'm compensating for the crookedness of my fusion because in order to hold my head straight I have uneven stresses on my neck and back muscles. So there's that.
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