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Failed ACDF x 3 and failed PCDF x 1, now what??

hitchedin76hhitchedin76 Posts: 5
edited 04/21/2014 - 9:09 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have had three ACDF's that were all failures and now I'm afraid that my PCDF is also a failure. Following 13 +/- years of neck pain I was finally diagnosed with two herniated disks. I underwent my first surgery in December of 2010 and was elated that after a short recovery time, I felt great. Then just over a year later (Feb. 2012) I was rear ended as I was stopped in traffic by a driver going approx. 30 mph. Within two weeks of the crash, I began experiencing the same old symptoms. I made an appt. and saw my surgeon and a CT was ordered. When the results came back, it was clear that one of the two allografts had "cracked" all the way across and was impinging on neck tissue/nerves. Second surgery with an autograft went well for over a year. Again I was pretty much pain free. Then last March {2013) I began having the symptoms again. In case anyone wonders, you do get to where you just know when something is not right in there. I waited eight weeks before calling my Dr., thinking that I must have "done something". Finally, the symptoms were so bad that I had no choice but to go back to the surgeon. During that visit, I was told that autografts NEVER fail and was offered a CT where a dye is injected into the spinal fluid but by the end of the very brief visit, that had been taken off of the table and I instead was given a script for PT. I went home feeling a little down about the whole visit. PT had never helped it before so why would it be any different this time. After much thought, I called the Dr. and requested the CT. My request was met with some hesitation but again I was scheduled. I had the test on a Monday and on Wednesday I got a call from the nurse. She advised that the results were back and the Dr didn't like what he saw. I was asked to come in the NEXT day. When I got there, both the nursing staff as well as the Dr himself had a whole different attitude, almost sheepish. When he came in to the room, he apologized profusely and said that in his experience, the autograft had never failed and he assumed mine hadn't either. By the end of the visit, I was scheduled for my third ACDF. I didn't have it until October of 2013. When he got into the neck apparently it was a mess. In fact, in his words "all he could do was damage control", The graft had in fact "grown" but it had grown incorrectly and was smooshed out the sides of the vertebral disk space. Following that surgery, I was in a collar 24 hours a day, literally, for stability. In December, I had a PCDF, which was so much more painful than the ACDF. I was completely unprepared for the difference. So now it's just over four months post op and the pain is back with a vengeance. By the end of the day I'm wearing my collar and the pain level is between seven and ten with a lot of radiating pain and spasms. I'm taking large amounts of extra strength Tylenol during the day with a muscle relaxer for bedtime. If anyone has had a similar experience I would love to hear what you did. I keep hearing from friends and family that it's time for a second opinion. I like my surgeon but I'm really wondering!!!


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