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Severe pain in between shoulder blades, before ACDF and after of Removal of anterior instrumentation

Hi there! I'm new to the forum, decided to joined after all my research online for my two prev surgeries, about 2 + years ago ago I had ACDF C4-C6 ever since after surgery I always had this horrible feeling of chocking, like someone was pushing their thumb againsty throat, sharp pocking feeling that never got better only worse! Despite of many attempts with my two original surgeons of removing the plate they told me basically I was crazy! Even though studies showed a small corner of plate pushing against my soft tissue, i finally found a great neurosurgeon that took my case (saw many others but for "liability" issues wouldn't take my case) I have had this horrible
Pain sharp throbbing in betweeny shoulder blades that doesn't go away, surgeon told
Me perhaps was because of all the problems I have been having with plate and possible not a good fusion on the second level, finally I got the plate taken out about 4 weeks ago, I have to say my NS said to me before being discharged home "you are not crazy, plate was placed on a "funky" way, I'm
Glad we took it out" I have been healing at home, saw him
About a week ago for post op, but this in between shoulder pain OMG doesn't go away!!!! It's so sharp at a times that takes my breath away and makes me so nauseous, not even with the pain meds and muscle relaxers I have been taking helps, doc said it should go away, but it only gets bad!
Has anyone of you out here has experience something like this before?? Im just looking for some input and opinions!
Thank you all! Oh forgot the nasty chocking feeling and tightness and all tha, after the plate was taken out I feel some good relief, it will get better with time! But I'm
Happy I did it! Even though I had no warranties of getting better!
Thank you again!


  • I have the choking feeling but I am only 2 weeks post op. I don't have any experience with the other issue but I do have several points in my should blade area that felt bruised to the touch before my surgery. I had several messages to try to combat the issue in the months before surgery that didn't take care of the issue although they felt good.lol. I haven't really felt much there since then.
    Did they do something about the plate that they removed? I was just wondering if its now unstable if the fusion wasn't good and it could have something to do with the pain.
    Tracie C
  • Hi Tracie ! Hope you are feeling good after your surgery! Just hang in there and be patient takes time to feel 100%
    According to my Neurosurgeon he said fusion looked great and actually I was lucky that bone fused because plate was not properly placed, I have no instrumentation on my cervical spine now, and I'm happy for that but oh boy uh boy that pain is bad, gonna call my NS again and we'll c!
    Thank you for ur response and good luck with ur recup! Hope it's all
    Smooth! :)
  • Things are going pretty well. I am pushing myself to get in as much walking as possible to get exercise. I think the real test is going to be without the brace. I'm glad that you have a good fusion without instrumentation Good Luck.
    Tracie C
  • RhoRhoRhoRRhoRhoRho Posts: 1
    edited 09/24/2014 - 3:10 PM
    Hi! I'm new to the forum and a little more than one year post-surgery. I have not had a good result unfortunately, and the primary problem is agonizing pain between my shoulder blades, just like you described. I also have a winged scapula on the right side.

    As soon as I awoke from surgery, I told the surgeon, "you broke my back!" The pain was awful. He told me that because they had to bend my body into difficult positions to reach my spine, it was probably just soft tissue trauma and would get better. I didn't believe him, so went for a second opinion and got a diagnosis of nerve damage with winged scapula. The doc said that the nerves would continue to heal for 12-18 months and told me to stay positive. I'm coming up on 18 months in November, and while my shoulder blade is still winged, my range of motion and strength are vastly improved (I've been doing physical therapy 2-3 times a week all these months). But the pain between my shoulder blades is still so bad at times that it takes my breath away. Literally... because it hurts down to my lungs. :-(

    Check your back with a mirror and see if your shoulder blades look lop-sided or if they stick out. If so, then you may have been "manhandled" during surgery, which can result in nerve injury. I hope this is not the case for you; but the pain you described between your shoulder blades sounds like mine - so bad that it takes your breath away. Fingers crossed that your shoulder blades look symmetrical and normal! Maybe you really do just have soft tissue trauma. Good luck!
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