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MAJOR Operation from C2 to T3

Had my operation on 4th December 2013 and it took some 6 hours plus. As far as I know Surgeons did a revision posterior cervical fusion C2 to T3 with BMP and Right C4/5 + C6/7 foraminotomy. I was discharged from hospital on 13th December 2013 and had clips removed on 16th but the following days were very painful and I had to call out my GP on 24th as large swelling developed at top of wound. This apparently was infection under the skin and I was given 14 days supply of flucoxacillin but this had no effect so I was given penicillin to take in addition and at long last on 10th January 2014 the infection seems to be leaving my system. I am also taking for pain oral morphine and gabapentin. Sleeping has been almost impossible due to position of infection so most of my sleeping is done during the day on a riser/recliner chair!

Surgeon said he was very pleased with outcome of operation so far but that it would be a lengthy recovery period for me. My neck movement is now severely restricted but I am assured that I shall be okay to drive at end of January 2014. This I am told will be my last spine operation.

Previous ops - revision to TKR right knee 2000 and TKR left knee 2006. PLIF L4/5/S1 and rebuild 2008. ACDF C3/4 and C4/5 2010. Posterior lateral mass fixation C5/6/7 2011 - had to be done twice in 3 days as screws etc became loose.


  • that is a very large fusion surgery, but I am curious, did they use bmp in your cervical area? Are you in the US? I was told that the use of bmp in the cervical area is not permitted since it can cause too much bony overgrowth in a tiny, delicate area....
    I hope that your recovery goes very smoothly and you have no further difficulties.
  • I am in the UK in Hertfordshire. I see Surgeon on 27/1/14 so I shall ask about the use of bmp and let you know.
  • I am so glad you are on here. I also had a similar surgery in December 2013. I had posterior laminectomy on c3-c5 and spinal fusion with rods on c2-t2. I already had an ACDF on c5-c7 with cage fusion 24 months ago. I was automatically placed on antibiotics postop with this surgery so I didnt have surgical infection but I did get pneumonia :(. This surgery has been a killer to recover from. My surgeon acts like I could go back to work next week but I cant even sit straight up right now. Muscle spasms are awful! Did you have alot of muscular arm pain afterwards? Supposedly he attached weights to the shoulder muscles, but I could hardly move my arms because of the pain.
    Lego momma
  • Are you in the UK? I saw my Surgeon yesterday and had to get more Xrays which were fortunately all in order. My fusion will probably take at least 6 months and even then may not be complete. I agree with you that it has been most difficult to recover from this operation and very painful. So far I have had very little muscular arm pain but unfortunately once my clips were taken out I developed a nasty infection at top of incision which took some 4 weeks to clear after taking 2 different types of antibiotics together. The left side of my neck was badly swollen and is still tender to touch. I started back driving on 25th January 2014 but have to be very careful as head movement is severely restricted. Please keep in touch.
  • On the 21st, I had anterior rexploratiiom with C3-T1 corpectomies and C2-T2 interbody cage with ENT assistance. Posterior C2-T2 fusion. I have to use the Miami J cervical collar while napping and at bedtime. The SOMI has given me nothing but grief since I started using it a week ago. My sutures have become somewhat irrated as have my shoulders where it rubs. Haven't used it for two days now and I've cleared up, cut back on my meds and have much less pain. The home nurse thinks I may be allergic to the material it's made from and is calling my doctor to see what he thinks. Any feedback is appreciated!
  • I do wear the Miami J collar now 24/7 except while showering.
  • WonderboytwiceWWonderboytwice Posts: 149
    edited 02/28/2014 - 1:12 AM
    Saw my Surgeon on 24th February 2014 as experiencing severe lower back pain. I am also getting a lot of muscular spasms in the neck particularly on the right side but I am told these will gradually ease off. Have been sent for MRI Scan of lower back on 19th March so here's hoping it does not lead to a further operation. Surgeon seems to think it is all nerve related problems I am having. Message to mslipstick - if you keep exercising neck very carefully you will find things get better albeit slowly.
  • Scan showed several bulging discs which were giving me Sciatic pain on both sides. Well Surgeon decided to send me for an epidural injection which I had on 9th April and I feel wonderful now as pain has gone completely. Have been told that pain may return but can have another Epidural injection if this happens.

  • How are you feeling? I am also fused from C2-T3. I also have an anterior replacement of C7. Took 4 surgeries over 5 years. It's been rough! How are you feeling? You are the first person I have met that has had the same surgery. Would love to talk to you more!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    It is used in the US when no other options are available. There are ways around it being disallowed. I became a experiment patient and signed all the necessary paper work knowing what could happen with the use if BMP in the cervical area. So far no problems for me and it has been almost 5 years now I think since that surgery. I had no choice, my neck would not heal on its own from 4 previous fusions. my surgeons main concern was the swelling after surgery and I was advised that it would be likely I would require a vent for a few days until the swelling went down. Yes i had alot of swelling but not enough to hinder my breathing, for me BMP was a god send for others it is a nightmare
  • LovetrotravelLLovetrotravel Posts: 296
    edited 05/03/2014 - 2:51 PM
    They used BMP in my last two-level fusion that was both anterior and posterior. My Spine Institute is very well known in our part of the country and they had permission to use in those who had previous fusion failures. So far, the actual fusion is holding strong and it's been since Nov. 2006 and zero problems relating to the BMP....(I have more herniated discs below the site and lumbar now, but thankful that this time a fusion took hold since my previous two had failed.
  • and it has adhered my dura to the back of the vertebra at three levels, as well as the canal itself on the opposite side ( lamina)at those three levels. BMP can migrate and cause fusion where it is not supposed to be, and can cause an overgrowth of bone to occur, and cause big problems if the surgeon is not versed in how to use it properly and how much to use. It is not approved as far as I am aware in the cervical area for just this reason and I would not allow it to be used in my neck.......just my two cents.
  • LovetrotravelLLovetrotravel Posts: 296
    edited 05/04/2014 - 7:07 AM
    I forgot to say that mine were cervical fusions...lol....But I agree, I wouldn't have done it with any other Neurosurgeon as they are some of the best! And as I mentioned, thankfully the BMP is one of the reasons that this last fusion has lasted so long and held up so well. (since 2006.) This is why it's so important for people to get 2nd and 3rd opinions and research everything they are told by a Neurosurgeon before ever attempting these types of surgeries. I'm sorry that BMP has not worked well for some folks.

    The great news is that they (the medical community) is out there trying to develop new and better ways to address spine problems. I watched a tv show a few months ago about a Spine place in TX where a Dr. has developed a product that is made from biologic material. It turns into a "gel" that is so much more like our regular discs so it can keep the neck mobile which is so much better than bone that they use now.

    And then for us cervical folks, there was just a story about a Neurosurgeon at EDITED that has developed a new disc material but out of other types of metal like cobalt and chromium along with titanium. Is it called the EDITED device and it was used for a two-level cervical fusion. They only have to use this device and not add in any screws, cage or plating. You can research the article by typing in the info I have mentioned.

    I think there is always risk in trials and new products but for some of us, we've been through all the regular options and are ready to try something new. Of course I want there to be sufficient research and standards met but just like with any new medication, it's hard to judge long term side effects until it's been used.

    Post edited to remove medical facility name
    Post edited by Sandi- Please see the forum rules at the link below for more information.

    You agree not to post specific physician names or health care facilities , devices or product names on Spine-Health.com.
  • It is now almost 6 months since I had the above very lengthy operation and I am now beginning to feel more upright. However the neck muscles are not behaving and keep going into spasm mode particularly if I look upwards. Is there anything apart from light exercise that I can do to alleviate this problem? Shaving with an electric razor takes almost 30 minutes and I have to stop and rest often because of the pain. I am on Gabapentin 300mg 3 times a day but was on 600mg which was making me feel very lethargic! My Surgeon's appointment is towards the end of July when I had hoped to feel better than I do right now.

    Have sent you a PM, Carrie.

  • I am sorry to report that my neck pain/spasms are worse than ever. When I attempt to raise my head when I am shaving the spasms become very bad and end up giving me a severe headache. Sleeping is dreadful and I usually end up in the morning feeling very tired. My pain relief is gabapentin but now they seem to be having little effect. May have to go back to see my GP and seek some more effective relief. My Neurosurgeon said it would be some 12 months before I began to feel normal again. If there are others out there who have had this operation I would be most interested in seeing if they have similar problems to mine. I see my Surgeon at end of July so hope he can come up with a solution to all the spasms I am getting.

    I live across the pond in UK and my Surgeon is very highly acclaimed throughout Europe.

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    After trying every muscle relaxer known to man nothing worked, /when my mother passed away the Dr started me out in Xanax but I couldn't handle the hang over effect so she switched to Valium. Miracle drug for me. Keeps the spasms away
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