My 69 year old mother was scheduled for C4-C7 ACDF in December, 2013. Her doctor said they would go through the front of her neck to insert the bone grafts, and then go through the back of her neck to insert the titanium plate to secure them. However, he said her lungs weren't doing well in surgery, so he decided not to put the plate in. He said he'd do a second procedure in about 3 weeks to put the plate in.
My mom ended up getting pneumonia while recovering from the surgery. Even on 3 liters of oxygen, her oxygen levels were in the 80's. It has been a LONG six months of recovery as she has had to be on oxygen 24/7. Only last month was she able to go out and walk for short periods without oxygen. She still sleeps with it though. She still has a lot of pain in her neck and she can not drive or function like she used to. Basically she has been bedridden for 6 months. Her pulmonologist said not to go back for the fusion because her lungs likely will not be strong enough.
When my mom went back for a follow up last month, the doctor that performed the ACD said the xrays show significant collapse and she needs to start wearing her neck brace 24/7. Because of the collapse, he said, if she does not let him do a 2nd surgery she will end up paralyzed....a quadriplegic.
Her pulmonologist now agrees with him that she will have to risk the surgery or she will likely end up paralyzed. I feel so helpless. We've seen that her lungs aren't strong enough for her to be on a ventilator. A second surgery would surely by too great of a risk right? I am so scared for the future.
On a side note, the doctor that did the surgery already has a pending malpractice case. He has since left the group he was with and has moved in to his wife's dermatology practice. I don't trust him whatsoever. If you do a google search on his name you'll find endless press releases put out by a company who specializes in "medical reputation management." His name is xxx. My mom likes him though. It's very frustrating. Not once did he come to the hospital to check on her after surgery while she was in intensive care with pneumonia, unable to swallow for 2 weeks. I could go on and on....
Has anyone else experienced collapse after their ACD or ACDF surgery?
Post edited to remove specific doctor's name by Liz The spine-health moderator team.