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Chances of another Fusion surgery in 10 years (10-25%)?

Jonny ZeroJonny Zero Posts: 69
edited 09/02/2014 - 5:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,

I was involved in a serious car wreck at the beginning of January 2014 and though I have the experience of going through the pain and healing of fractured + burst vertebrae, nerve damage/pain and surviving the emotional + physical rollercoaster ride of a rough and painful 4 level Posterior Instrumented Fusion (C5-T2), I am still very new to this forum and trying very hard to learn more as I go...

My PT advised me that the discs above and below my fusion will overcompensate, so it only makes sense to protect this from happening (re: change of career, etc..). I have tried so hard to research this and what my future holds with respect to potentially having to go through another surgery one or more times before I'm gone and it seems that the end result is that the sky is the limit! There is no designated time frame aside from what I've read here on Spine-Health ("SOME STUDIES" have suggested that the rate of adjacent disc breakdown requiring further surgery is between 10% to 25% over 10 years) and everyone is different. It almost reminds me of the phrase "it is what it is" and sometimes I believe people say that line because there isn't much else to say!!!! It is very disheartening to read that some people can go through 2 or more surgeries sometimes in less than a 5 year period.....

I've also had extreme difficulty finding specific information relating to accidents in particular that have caused fusion surgery. Am I one of a few only? Am I crazy or am I not researching properly? Most of the information I find is based on people with other situations such as DDD, ACDF and other natural occurring ailments based on aging, etc....

I am 40 years old and was in excellent condition prior to this happening without any history of any issues. Common sense tells me that I need to take care of my neck from this point forward, but should I obsess over it? Knowing my luck, I'll do just that and have to have another surgery within 5 years..... UGHH!

Sorry for the book! It's just so hard to come to the realization that this neck injury isn't finished with me yet..... It's even harder not being able to find a support system relating to my specific situation (an accident that caused all of this).

Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading! And feel free to PM me anytime!


4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.


  • accident. I also had two fusions, original and revision ,18 months apart.
    As far as further surgeries go, it depends on the condition of the other discs, any other
    pathology, DDD, and how well you care for your spine down the road.
    I know a third surgery is in my future, due to a sci, but there is no way to estimate odds, because it really varies and are based on so many factors. Some within our control, some not.
  • Jonny ZeroJonny Zero Posts: 69
    edited 09/03/2014 - 10:08 AM
    The only issue stated in my NS's report was that I had mild spondylosis (C5-6). I suppose with anything it's how you care for it after the fact, but that is incredible that you needed a revision 18 months in. GULP!

    I hope I never have to go through this again, though chances are it is in my future at some point. thanks for the feedback, Sandi!

    4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
    And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Like sandi said, their is no way to predict, way too many variables. After my cervical fusion in 2007 my neurosurgeon at the time said I'd need more in the future and was correct, less than 6 years later I was planning another. Now that my cervical spine is basically all fused (or in the process anyway) we now get to look forward to going after my collapsing lumbar spine.
    I used to dwell on the "what if's" back a few years ago but now I have so many other medical diversions I just sort of say to myself, "it is what it is and I'll just deal with it." What else can we do right?
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