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Bone Growth Stimulator

Hello everyone. I hope that I am posting in the correct topic. On September 17, I had an Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion on C4-7. As someone who smoked for 40+ years, I stopped smoking approximately a month before surgery. In addition, I purchased a liquid, vegan, Cal/Mag/ Zinc supplement to increase my chances of fusing. And, also some Aloe Vera water for my scratchy throat. I have been in extreme pain and weakness in my shoulders and upper arms. It seemed like I was becoming a little better until September 26, when I was given a Spinalogic bone growth stimulator. I had been trying to walk a modest amount until then. But, my pain and weakness dramatically began to increase once I began using the bone growth stimulator. After using the bone growth stimulator for 13 consecutive days, I have decided that I need to stop and see if I could receive any relief from the extreme pain and weakness in my shoulders and upper arms. I stopped last night, and am going to continue not using the stimulator for awhile until I make a decision on what I should do. The problem is that Medicare will not pay for me to use the stimulator again once I have stopped. But, I cannot continue to try to become stronger while in such pain. I have been prescribed Norco 7.5 but they do not touch the pain, and I remain in bed most of the day except to eat. I had walked 5 times for a short distance before I began using the stimulator but walking increases the pain and weakness in my shoulders and upper arms. In addition, I am eating as much protein as I can, and want to begin walking again. I have read a lot of research, and understand that everyone reacts differently. But, I also read that the jury is still out on bone growth stimulators, especially in the cervical area due to the fact that the cervical area is more narrow than the lumbar and there appears to be more complications when using the stimulator in the cervical rather than the lumbar. I continue to try and retain a positive attitude. My surgeon does not communicate much. At my post-op 2 week exam, he only said that my neck was still swollen. Because of his lack of communication, I am thinking about getting another opinion several months down the road. I think that it is probably too soon for the any kind of fusion to show up on x-rays. And, I also believe that if I decide not to use the stimulator, he is not going to be very encouraging. But, I need to do what I believe is right for me. And, he doesn't like to answer any of my questions, or become involved in any discussions. He told me the reason for my pain was because I had surgery. When he responded with his answer, I didn't ask anything else ;-(. So, I feel as though I have been left alone to figure all of this out. Sometimes, I try to figure out if I have permanent nerve damage, or something else going on. But, I know that I have to give this surgery time to heal, and I need to do everything in my power to assist in the healing process. So, I choose to remain positive until I hear information that is contrary. In addition, I am told that down the road, I will need the same type of surgery on my lumbar area but, I am not concerned about that surgery until I successfully make it through this one! If anyone has any advice or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you, whether it be on supplements, exercise, or anything. In advance, thank-you! Wishing everyone good health, true peace, and real happiness. -Mike


  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    I used a bone growth stimulator after my first ACDF. I had to wear it for 4 hrs a day. Once I started using it, I noticed that I was getting bad headaches after only wearing it for short time. I also kept feeling a stinging sensation in my neck Everytime I wore it. I called my surgeons office & his nurse told me that my headaches & stinging pain were not caused by the stimulator? I forced myself to keep wearing it. It turns out, it didn't help my fusion at all. I ended up having to have a second surgery to fuse my neck. I did a lot of research on the stimulator & couldn't really find enough evidence to say it works? You are still early in your healing process. Try to keep positive.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 10/11/2014 - 5:38 AM
    or has just recently quit, bone growth stimulators are used to promote bone growth despite the nicotine and other substances in tobacco that inhibit bone growth. Even though you stopped a month prior to surgery, there are lingering chemicals in your body, bones and tissues that inhibit bone growth.
    It is far too early to to make any determinations about the outcome of your surgery, or nerve damage, or anything else.
    I would strongly encourage you to talk to your surgeon before stopping a treatment that he recommended in your case. He did it for a reason.
    The odds of a successful fusion in a smoker or recent smoker go down dramatically, and the bone growth stimulator is used to help beat those odds.
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