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neck fusion hardware failure

Last May I had a neck fusion, a plate was put in and everything was going along well..until one of the xrays showed one of the screws backing out. I did have trouble with high voice registers and swallowing. In Nov. the plate was removed and now I have almost no voice. After 3 months I went to an ENT and found out that one of the vocal cords is paralyzed because of the seond surgery. Last week I got a sore throat and my voice was almost perfect!!!. As I got well, my voice faded back to a whisper. What I hear is WAIT. In 5 months the voice has not changed a bit. IS this common, is the hardware at fault, will my voice come back (5 months now)? Has this happened to anyone else?
kathleen cunning


  • I've got the same thing I fear. I had the original ACDF surgery on May 30th, 2013. Everything was fine until my 6 week post-op x-rays. All the screws except for the top two have pulled out of the bone, and the plate is lying against my vocal cords. I will be having revision surgery tomorrow 7/22. I had a hard time with my throat and swallowing from the first surgery, so I have no idea what this will be like.

    2005 - PLIF, 3 levels; 2007 - ALIF, 3 levels; May 30, 2013 - ACDF, 4 levels; July 22, 2013 - ACDF revision with PCDF.
    For added fun, add in rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/21/2013 - 12:48 PM
    to Spine Health. :-)

    I don't have problems with my hardware because I only have two titanium cages and no plate or screws.
    After my surgery, I did have problems with swallowing and I was making some strange noises when I did. My surgery was last November, so 8 months ago.

    At my 6 months check I asked my surgeon if there was anything I could do to help to improve my singing voice that had been adversely affected since my surgery. My surgeon looked a bit alarmed and said he would refer me to an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon.

    It was found that I have a paralysed Superior Laryngeal Nerve which has caused my right vocal cord to atrophy and stop working properly. I am due to have my first voice therapy session tomorrow. I have been told that I am unlikely to ever get my previous singing voice completely back, but that if I work hard I should be able to get the surrounding mucles to compensate for the vocal cord that is not functioning properly. From things I have read, this is quite uncommon, especially the Superior Laryngeal Nerve. Damage of the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve is still fairly rare, but less so.

    My speaking voice is mostly ok unless I try to raise my voice. It is my singing voice that is affected, particularly the higher notes.

    Do you know which nerve has been damaged during your surgery?

    I have just noticed that your post was made in March and that you haven't posted since. Perhaps you won't read this, but if you do, how are you doing now?

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