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Posterior Surgery to C5-C7 and Fusions that have not fused

WonderboytwiceWWonderboytwice Posts: 149
edited 06/19/2013 - 8:29 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
My operation on 20/12/2011 was Posterior lateral mass fixation C5-C7 and fusion ( Mountaineer ). Procedure was as follows: Prone on Mayfield, exposure from C5 to C7 via a longitudinal incision. C5 screws inserted with Image Intensifier guidance. C6 and C7 screws inserted blind. Facet joints burred with Midas, Actifuse graft inserted, contoured rods inserted and tightened. Check images via Image Intensifier obtained. Decortication, Bone dust and Actifuse used. When I came round in Intensive Care I found my right arm to be almost completely paralysed. A CT Scan was immediately called for and the Spinal Surgeon was recalled to view the scan. He ascertained that screws had loosened along with metalwork. It was decided that 3 days later I would be taken back into Theatre and have new drill holes burred after removal of all screws which had very low impedance. Size 3.5 by 14 screws inserted and impedance was significantly higher also a new rod was inserted.

I remained in hospital for 12 days and was mobilised home wearing a soft collar.

I am now 19/12/2012 having problems with bone/metal trying to break through the skin towards top of cervical spine. Also I am in quite a lot of pain so Senior Registrar has sent me for a full spine MRI Scan on 29/12.2012 then I have to see him on 17/1/2013.

Has anyone else had this or similar problems after Cervical Posterior Surgery. I also had ACDF C3/4/5 in September 2010 and a PLIF L4/5/S1 in December 2008. In addition I have had 2 Knee replacements plus 1 revision.


  • I have been in incessant pain for weeks now and have had several bouts of sickness caused no doubt by the pain. I am going urgently to see my GP tomorrow 10/1/13 to get some strong painkillers. Next week on 17/1/13 I see my Surgeon to get results of a recent 'full spine' MRI Scan so I sincerely hope he will know what is going on. In the area where I had recent surgery it feels like bone or metal is attempting to break through the skin. Has anyone suffered from a similar problem?

    Best wishes for 2013 to you all and I hope that all of you in recovery are doing extremely well.

  • I hope that you had some success today in getting something to ease your pain.
    Hopefully it will be shown on the MRI scan why you are in this position and there will be a plan to alleviate the pain.

    Do let us know how you get on on 17th. I'll be thinking of you :-)

    Hopefully 2013 will be a year when you get some real relief that will last!

  • ***Now that I see you writing the term "theatre"...I am thinking you may be in the U.K., Australia, or elsewhere as that is not a common term used here...So I will leave the bit below for others to read who are located here.

    I hope that your GP will be able to help but if you are in the U.S. just know that new laws and regulations are being put into place that any non PM Dr. has to go through greater training and certification to be able to prescribe controlled substances (strong pain meds as you say you are needing)...They may be able to help you short term as long as you are following up with a PM Dr.

    Since I think you are located outside the U.S....I hope that you will get some meds to help with your pain today.

    I would think that if your metal is "literally" almost breaking through then the surgeon will want immediate surgery to fix this. Hopefully you are going to a different surgeon than last time as this should not be happening...especially within just a year of your last surgery.

    I've had 3, two-level, cervical fusions and the last one was done (back in 2006) from the front AND the back of the neck to really shore things up from both sides. I still have chronic pain but everything is in decent place and thankfully I do not have the awful nerve pain that I had beforehand. I still have muscular soreness and some twinges of adhesion (scar tissue) pain or if I accidentally twist my neck in the wrong way suddenly...So I am on medications that include an opiate as well as muscle relaxer..

    I also do daily exercise, physical therapy at home, aqua therapy, injections when needed through the year, steroid treatments once or twice a year when in a flare of inflammation, ice, heat, use a TENS unit daily, biofeedback, did counseling for a year to help with divorce and living with chronic pain, acupuncture, massage, etc..

    I certainly hope that you do not smoke as that is now proven to dehydrate discs and cause spinal issues as well as inhibit fusion. Many surgeons in the U.S. will refuse to do any surgery like this now if a patient smokes...

    My last MRI was in 2007 to find that I also have Stenosis, Spondy, more bone spurs in various levels, as well as 3, pretty severe herniations (two in the lumbar area and one below my cervical fusion)....But we have decided to avoid anymore surgery unless there is direct thread of harm or paralysis.

    I can sort of "feel" my hardware in the back of my neck but it's not about to come through so that is why they should be able to know this with a physical exam as well as the MRI immediately for you and take care of it!

    Good luck..

  • As a result of my full spine MRI Scan on 29/12/12 I now have to see a Spinal Surgeon who specialises in Neurology problems. The tremors in both my hands has got worse also my balance is very bad. The operation in December 2011 was supposed to help my balance problem but alas it has not created any improvement! My neck pain is awful and far more painful that it was before my ACDF operation in September 2010. I deeply regret having the cervical spine operations but I was told they would relieve the pain and make me more mobile.
  • WonderboytwiceWWonderboytwice Posts: 149
    edited 03/05/2013 - 11:15 AM
    I have now been referred to a private hospital in London for a Spect CT Scan and an EMG. My pain is still quite severe and tremors are bad. My Neurologist has put me on Betablockers to see if they help my shakes! I sometimes feel like giving up on all medical aid as nothing seems to be helping pain etc.

    Good luck to you all on your recovery.

  • I am sorry to hear that your pain is still severe and that you still have your tremors.

    Have they still no idea exactly what is causing them?
    Have they decided what it is that feels like it is trying to break through the skin yet?

    I really hope that you will meet an amazing doctor who will decide what is causing all this, formulate a plan to help you and restore your faith in the medical profession. I think that some of us are just too complicated a puzzle for them.

    I read somewhere that they know more about the moon than the human nervous system! Well yours seems to be more complicated than most! Lol! (Mine too!)

    Do keep us informed on how you are doing and know that you have a great load of people here who understand many of the frustrations that you are feeling. Keep in touch :-)
  • I have just seen a Spinal Surgeon who specialises in Neurological problems of the spine. First of all the Spect CT Scan has shown numerous hotspots in the spine and the above surgery I received, albeit twice, is a problem as fusion has not taken place some 18 months down the line. Also there are problems in area C2 to C4 where I had an ACDF done in September 2010.
    First of all in a few weeks I have to receive numerous facet joint injections then on 15th July I have to go to London to be interviewed by several 'top' Surgeons who will decide among themselves the best type of operation for me. Basically all metalwork from C2 down to C7 has to be removed and replaced with different items. I have been told it will be a lengthy operation and that recovery will take some months. I said to the Surgeon all I want is for the pain I have suffered now for 18 months to be taken away!! This will be 5th operation on spine I have had.
  • Further to my post of 06/15/2013 I have just been told by Surgeon that ACDF C2/3/4 done in September 2010 has not fused. That means that of 3 Cervical Fusion operations I have had that NIL have fused. Has anyone had this problem. I am non smoker and keep myself very fit. My Posterior operation was done twice in December 2011 as screws etc became loose from 1st operation!!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    My rods from my posterior surgery look ike they are ready to breal thru my skin also. You can even see the color of the rods.Since i was a 4 times non fusion they will not remove them. I wish you luck and hope to fimd some pain relief and answers to your problems

  • Do let them know (if they don't already) about your problems fusing and your history.
    Don't trust that they will know anyway. It is better to tell them something they know than risk them not being fully informed.
    I am sure that you will do that anyway! :-)

    I'll be thinking of you on 15th July and hope that these surgeons will see how they can help you and how they can best get your body to fuse this time.

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