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ACDF Screws Too Long

TapTTap Posts: 5
edited 06/12/2014 - 11:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

My question is if anyone has had this or heard of this and if having the screws replaced alleviated the symptoms.

Thanks for any input or advice you may have.


  • Welcome to Spine Health..........before we can try to answer your question, you really are going to have to fill in some of the missing blanks........when was your surgery? Have you discussed this with your surgeon? What does he recommend? What symptoms are you having that you believe might be relieved by changing the screws?

  • Hi. Thanks for responding Had acdf 4/18 on c5/6 and 6/7 (4/5 is also bad but they opted not to address at this time) This was after a failed posterior discectomy of the same levels in 2011. I had none of the "immediate relief" that was promised by the surgeon and at my 10 day follow up he was concerned about the position of the screws on X-ray as well as symptoms of pain, tingling and loss of strength in my left arm and hand that began after surgery as pre-surgically my symptoms were mostly on the right side ( those remain as well). I also have what I can only describe as like a jolt of pain when I move my head - mostly seems to be when moving to the back or side but happens randomly as well. A cat scan was done and I was told that they are "pretty sure" this is what is causing my problem but that it's really difficult to tell from the scans.

    I'm so very frustrated and scared. Hesitant to let them back in a third time. Every time they go in I come out worse than before.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/14/2014 - 6:33 AM
    Have you considered seeing a new surgeon, one located at a major teaching hospital? Why some surgeons promise immediate relief is beyond me.......some patients are really lucky in that they do get that, while others, most of us , do not......and we have to work through recovery to get there.
    The new symptoms immediately post op are concerning, and I can understand your reservations about letting them go back a third time.......hence my suggestion for a consult with another surgeon before going ahead.......
    I think that if I were you, that's what I would do. It would either reassure me that this is the right decision or maybe I might find that I felt more confident with another surgeon doing any necessary surgery.
  • TapTTap Posts: 5
    edited 06/15/2014 - 3:12 PM
    I spoke with my pain mgmt. dr. (who I truly trust) and he has said that rather than the screw being so long that it's touching the nerve, it's possible the nerve is inflamed and touching the screw - again, I guess it's impossible to say for sure without going in. He suggested trying an epidural and if the problem is in fact inflammation of the nerve, this should resolve it and alleviate my symptoms. At this point, I'd stand on my head 12 hours a day if it would help! I've gone ahead and scheduled the epidural for Tuesday so with any luck I could have some relief by next weekend.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/16/2014 - 5:54 AM
    Good luck with the injection. I hope that it helps. If the screw is in fact, in contact with the nerve, the ongoing irritation may cause damage to the screw......so having it removed and replaced might in fact, be the only option. The injection may help to relieve the pain temporarily, but I would be concerned about permanent damage if the screw is in fact in contact with the nerve.
  • So the epidurals did nothing. Things actually seem worse since but I'm not sure it has anything to do with the epidural - each passing day seems worse than the one before. On top of everything else, where I used to have tingling issues in my feet (I was told it was possibly related to the neck issue), I am now having tingling and numbness in my whole left leg. Really? Honestly, it's quite enough already. Anyway, visit to surgeon is supposed to be a pre-op for screw removal and replacement but I have a lot of questions. I want to make sure this is being done because he's certain this is what's causing my problems (or at least some of them.). If we are just doing this because he doesn't know what else to do for me then I vote NO!! He's fairly young and I'm not sure he's run into anyone that he didn't just fix right up before. My mom and my husband disagree and think I should do it no matter what but I don't think that mentally I can handle going back in a third time and coming out no better or worse which is how the first two surgeries went.
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