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Failed ACDF?

I'll make this as short as possible, I promise. In Dec I had a ACDF at c5/6 due to a herniation. A couple weeks after the surgery the original pain came back and has gotten so much worse over the past few months. During the time between then and now, I've done months of PT, tried just about every anti-inflammatory med, had trigger point injections, a branch block and several meds for fibromyalgia (all this because everyone thought it was muscle related, not nerve) and even had another surgery because the orthopedic surgeon thought it was frozen shoulder. So, after almost a year of constant pain and NOTHING working, the pain Dr finally sent me for another MRI. I was called this morning and she said the latest MRI was "unchanged" since the first (the first reviled the herniation. I was confused, so I emailed my Dr and she said I still had a disc herniation at c5/6. How is this even possible?? It would explain the continued and constant pain, but I thought an ACDF actually took out the herniated disc and replaced it with bone. What's the possibility of a herniation at the same level and could the surgeon have actually gotten the levels wrong? My head is spinning right now and I'm waiting on a call from the Dr.


  • paininazppaininaz Posts: 5
    edited 11/14/2013 - 11:48 PM
    I had a fusion at c5-c6 in 2/2012. You are correct, they completely remove the disc and replace it with bone. In my case, the level above the fusion (c4-c5) has now herniated, is cutting into the spinal cord again, and is causing stenosis. I am having another fusion in December 2013. I have copies of my films and the written reports from the MRI so I can look at them myself and see which are the areas of concern.
  • jennafjjennaf Posts: 42
    edited 11/15/2013 - 7:58 AM
    I'm going here in a bit to pick up copies of the images. No one has called me back today and I refuse to wait around all weekend wondering what's really going on.
  • My fears have been confirmed. I got copies of the images today and there is in fact a herniation at the level that was operated on in Dec. My only thought is the fusion failed and this is the bone graft protruding. Not a happy camper. My shoulder MRI also showed a tear among several other things, which makes me mad because I had surgery in March. Everyone keeps telling me this is good news because now I know why I'm still in constant agonizing pain, but I can't help but feel very upset, another surgery was NOT what I had in mind.
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