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ACDF surgery - getting worse

lcmcdonaldllcmcdonald Posts: 8
edited 06/28/2015 - 8:31 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had ACDF surgery in my neck. Two discs were fused C5/C6 C6/C7, hardware and a cadaver bone. This was 9 months ago. My neck pain has not gone away, my numbness in my left arm to my fingers has not gone away either and now I have developed numbness in both legs from my knees to my toes. My surgeon says give it another 3 months. I feel that I should have been healed by now and 3 months is not going to make a difference and don't understand why my legs and toes are numb from my knees down.

Has anyone else experienced this?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    Has your doctor done X-rays to see if your neck fused? I was having same issues, and a new doctor discovered that my neck never fused, so I had to have another surgery.
  • Yes I have had three x-rays and have not fused yet. I have another x-ray mid-September which will be the one-year mark. What other surgery did you have on top if what was done already and how do you feel now?
  • I had an X-ray and 2MRIs and didn't show nothing but disc bulging on the level above the fusion! I had to have a CT scan to reveal that i'm not fully fused after 2 years and "There is lucency surrounding the C5 and C7 vertebral body screws " with whatever that means...... Screws ARE LOOSE!!! Yes after 2 years and just because my condition was worsening my excellent and i mean that PM doctor wasn't satisfied with my surgeons answers HE send me to have the CT scan to learn the bitter truth!
    June 2013 Car Accident,i suffer blunt abdominal trauma and had surgery.
    june 21 2013 ACDF C 5-6,6-7
    August 27 2013 rotator cuff surgery
    june 3 2015 abdominal incisional hernia.All kind of pain killers,opiates,epidurals and disable for life.
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    My first surgery was ACDF c4/5. After it was determined that my neck didn't fuse, I had posterior surgery at c4/5. The second surgery took longer to recover from. My initial symptoms got better, but I'm still dealing with nerve pain. Plus, I just had rotator cuff surgery (after 2 years of being told there's nothing wrong with my shoulder!) I am starting to have new pains in n my neck since my shoulder surgery.
  • I had a second opinion outside my normal provider and they think I may be fused but if I was, why wouldn't my neck pain and arm pain go away. He thought I have lower back issues which can be contributing to my numbness/pain from my knees to toes. He also thought that i have protrusion of two screws to the vertebrae. Not sure what this means. I had the second opinion because my surgeon said I can wait another 3 months hope for fusion or do a second surgery through back of neck add wire so I can get fusion. The second opinion surgery feels I may be fused so I have conflicting opinions but have not had a CT scan and should have one. I am worried about these screws and what that means?
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    The way it was explained to me by my second surgeon... The surgery is not done to eliminate your pain. The surgery is done to correct the issues on your spine. Some get instant pain relief & some don't.
    My first surgery was over 2 years ago, and I am still dealing with all of the pain.
  • Wondering if in either of your cases, you were given probable causes for not being fused? Did you take NSAID's after surgery, are you smokers? Or was it just a fluke you didn't fuse?
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    My first surgeon stopped refilling my pain meds at my 6 week check up. He told me I can't still be in pain. Said to take ibuprofen. I was taking them like candy.
    Now, I don't know for sure if that's why I didn't fuse? But I believe it had a lot to do with it.
    It wasn't until I was forced to find a new doctor, and he told me to stop taking them.
  • I don't smoke; 10% of all double-fusions fail. I have had an x-ray a month but still no fusion and it will be a year this month. My surgeon suggested a second surgery and go in the back of neck to get fusion or wait another 3 months and hope for fusion. A cadaver bone was used maybe that is why it its taking longer. I am now using a bone stimulator which seems to help some with the neck pain but got a second opinion and he thinks that I have some protrusion of two of my screws but I am not sure that that means? I don't think I will ever get rid of the numbness in my arm, legs or the neck pain. It is frustrating and I don't want to have another surgery if it won't help.
  • Sorry you are going through this!
    I would think you would definitely need a CT before going through with a posterior surgery - would insurance even approve it without it? I dunno.
    I've heard of the screws getting loose, I don't think that's *that* big of a deal - just go and pull them. Unless of course, you're not fused, then they'll flip you over and do the posterior fusion.
    Good luck! Keep us posted on what happens!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

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