Hi, everyone. This is my first time posting on this board, but I am a long-term orthopedic patient. In 2003, I fell down some concrete stairs and ruptured 3 discs in my lumbar spine. The pedicle screws broke off at the head a few months later. In 2007, due to major problems, I underwent surgery (anterior, from the front) again, and my spinal surgeon installed a plate to reinforce the areas where the bone never fused. Everything went fine with that surgery, except I was left with some residual chronic pain.
Fast forward to 2013, May 30th to be exact. I'd been having problems with DDD, and ruptured discs in my cervical spine (C4-C7). On May 30th, I underwent a ACDF. No complications, released from the hospital the next day in a hard Miami J collar. Wore the collar faithfully, and my 2-week post-op visit went fine. I felt as if everything was going well after that, and was told I could take the collar off to eat or sit still, but still wear it for car rides (no driving yet), going up/down stairs, or walking around. So that's what I did. Six weeks out, I went for my second post-op appointment where I expected I would be told I could dispense with the hated collar. Instead, after the x-rays were taken, the doctor, his PA, and their surgical tech all rushed into the room and began asking me all kinds of questions - how I felt, could I swallow, had I fell without the collar on, etc. and tested my reflexes extensively.
After they calmed down a bit, I asked what the problem was and was shown on the x-rays. Apparently, the screws holding the plate to my vertebrae had actually pulled out of the bone. In essence, the plate is free-floating except for the very topmost screw. The backward flexion x-ray showed the plate actually jutting out and possibly making contact with my esophagus and/or trachea. I was immediately scheduled for revision surgery (immediate means 2 weeks) and told that they will be putting larger screws into the already-present plate, then "flipping you over" and putting a whole new bone graft and instrumentation from the rear.
I think this is pretty unusual, but don't know. I can't find out much about it on line. Anyway, I will be spending the entire summer with this awful collar. Has anyone ever heard of a similar instance?
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.