Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

advertisement
advertisement
Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

Notice
All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

long term effects of cervical fusion?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,622
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey all,

Still trying to learn about the surgery I just had done after a nasty car accident...

I'm 15 days post-op C4-5 acdf with instrumentation.
I'm only 26 and was wondering what studies have been done, or what people's personal experiences are, with the long-term effects of cervical fusion. Surgeon tells me at 6 months I should be fully recovered and only lose about 8% range of motion. But when I ask about longer term effects on the neighboring disks, etc., he gives wish-washy answers like "technology will be improved by then" etc.
I also was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my thoracic spine when I was 19, but it has not bothered me in a couple years. Now I am wondering if it will come back into play...

Any thoughts? experiences? information sources?

Thanks!
advertisement

Comments

  • Not an easy question to answer. There are so many dependent variables. You could be fine and never have to deal with another surgery again....or....you may have problems with the adjacent disks. There are studies out there, but I'm not sure how conclusive they are. I read something once and I think (key word "think") it said 30%-35% of fusions would result in an adjacent fusion later. My brother had an ACDF at C5-6 when he was 30. At 40 he was having his 2nd ACDF, but now at C4-5. Is that typical? I have no idea. My suggestion is not to worry about it. The best you can do is try to be proactive in your health. Work on core strenthening so that your muscles become a better/stronger support structure for your spine (pilates and yoga are good). Be cautious of what you do....no bungy jumping! :) Trampolines, running(jogging), and other high impact sports are probably not a good idea either.

    Take care.
  • Sounds like it is going to be a struggle to stay proactive! I want to do what's best for my spine, but I am an aerobics instructor and runner! They are two things that really bring me joy and I can't imagine not returning to them once I recover from this surgery.
    Hopefully I'll get to talk to a PT and figure out what is reasonable and what is not.

    Shera
  • You can certainly return to them and an NS will probably tell you its okay. However, if you're worried about adjacent disks having problems, you may want to reconsider. But that's up to you. My NS said I shouldn't go in my boat again...but I have and I will. It's my choice and I know the risks.

    That's not to say that you may be fine and never have another problem again. It may depend on the reason for the 1st herniation; if an adjacent disk is already mildly herniated; if your neck muscles are strong. I found that pilates & yoga didn't do as much for strengthening my neck as the specific exercises given to me by my PT. The pilates & yoga compliment those exercises by providing entire spinal strengthening. Make sure your aerobics and running give you the proper core strenthing that you need.

    ...it would be interesting to see a moving xray of the spine while someone is running.
  • I've read of a couple of folks having ACDF and returning to running. I would plan to take much time off to be sure to heal completely and check with your docs! I have been a runner for 25 years averaging 40 miles per week. I asked an ortho and three N/S if running caused DDD or any of my problems, and they all said no. I'm sure some docs would see if differently. It's sure hard to think of giving up the things that give you joy in life. Good luck with your recovery.--Mazy
  • Welcome to the medical profession. No statistically significant studies are done on this.

    No doctor can say definitively that fusions lead to more fusions. People might have multiple fusions simply because their spines were going to always inevitably deteriorate. In contrast, I know professional athletes who played with fusions and have lived normally afterward.

    Phil Jackson of the NBA had a fusion in the 1970s and played 7 to 8 seasons for the New York Knicks. Well, you still see him coaching after all these years and he didn't need any extra fusions.

    I suspect that one's overall health determines these things in the long run. If you were strong and fit to begin with, then I think fusions shouldn't be so impacting. On the other hand, if you are overweight and showed spinal deterioration, it might likely continue with a fusion buying time in terms of further structural damage.

    Why the medical community does not track every single fusion patient across every possible dimension across time is beyond me. The technology is available and it is cheap.

    Cheers, Mate
  • ...it would be interesting to see a moving xray of the spine while someone is running.
    I completely agree. A static scan is only so useful. Professional athletes basically get moving scans because they can take as many MRIs as they need...unlike the rest of us insurance paying folk.

    Cheers, Mate
  • I had a C5-6 discectomy and fusion 7.5 years ago for loss of muscle mass and function in my left arm and hand. I researched it at the time because I had similar concerns. I thought the medical evidence supported a positive outcome due to the limited movement of the cervical spine. My doctor released me to full activity 6 weeks post op. All of my neck and left upper extrmity problems resolved. I have not had any neck problems since and I hope never to have any again!
    Best wishes in your recovery!
  • I had a cervical fusion c5-c6. Now I'm 10 months post-op and My neck feels like normal. The only pain I have is if I'm doing something that requires my head to be tilited back alot.

    Good Luck with your fusion,
    Christina :)
  • I am almost 5 months out of a C2-C5 and I still am having trouble. I was told that what I am left with a year out from surgery is what I may be with for life in terms of pain and weakness and such. But like everyone else has says, I guess it depends on the person! Good luck with everything!

    Kel
  • Posterior spinous process fusion C4-5 in 1984 after an accident (multiple fractures 3,4,5 torn ligaments etc). No major problems. Some loss of range of motion and maybe my neck grinds a bit. On the activity front, 10 years full contact martial arts, boxing, rock climbing and so forth. I admit to not asking doctors if this was advisable. But as has been mentioned, yoga/pilates type excercises would be good . Obviously in the short term impact sports would be questionable. I certainly belive in staying active. Known people to turn an actute injury into a chronic problem by letting an injury make them sedentary.
    All the best.
  • I had 2 neck surgeries. First in front C3-C5. Didnt work. I could not use my right leg. I would just drag it My brain was saying move but nothing. I dragged it around for a yr more after the 1st surgery. Finally I had the spinal fusion from C2-C7. The next day when i got out of bed my right leg was working again. The surgery worked. My leg still works ok. This was 2010. Its been 5 yrs and it took my neck 3 yrs to feel fairly normal. I can move it like before. I have had weird nerve symptoms thru out my body. Even today. I have had a complete knee replacement on the left leg for over using it. I have degenerative disc disease as well as main artery in each leg complete blockages. My Dr says no bypass is needed at this time. See you in 6 months. Im a T2 diabetic too. Ive lost 75 lbs over 10 yrs. I have L2 -S1 in very bad shape. My worse complaint right now is what is causing me to have weakness when walking or the wobbling and losing my balance. It takes me all day to change my bed. I do drag my right foot occasionally. I will trip on a rug. Now when I am on my pain meds I dont have all this weakness and losing balance etc. I wish there was a way to pinpoint where the problem is and get it fixed. But Ive been told my whole spine is a mess.
  • I too had a single level fusion but have a few years on you. I know that I have 3 bulges in the three discs above but no symptoms from them and wonder if the fusion will affect them. Also wonder when lifting precautions are taken off normally. Love to play tennis and softball. Surgeon said I could play 3 months post op of course softball season over by then. :( Hope to get back to some tennis. I suppose tennis and running will cause the same sort of jarring on the spine. We love to celebrate boating on Father's Day. That is obviously out this year.
    Lisa
  • davelammonddavelammon Vacaville, CAPosts: 1
    Very old post. The reason I'm searching for posts on neck and back pain is because I'm about 20 years into this and wanted to see if there are any alternatives out there. I"m reading about someone wanting to resume running and all kinds of crazy notions that people are going to go back to being normal after cervical fusion. I hope your fusion allows you to do this but I'm in it for 20 years and I am just about out of options. The pain is every day, in fact I got to bed around 7 every day to help take the stress off my neck . MY daughter thinks I'm lazy and doesnt get it. I had levels 5-6-7 fused over 20 years ago and now my mid back are in such pain its ridiculous. I am going to try PT and then ask for an epidural . I have no idea what else to try. But for those who want to go back to doing ground thumping bad things to their backs like running.. I hope you take note from someone who's been down the road and its not worth it nor is it any good for you regardless. Sorry to sound negative, i think I live with too much pain.
    Question for anyone who still follows this thread is, are they any new treatments for long term cervical fusion? if so please let me know. I dont think i can deal with another fusion.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,910
    Hello Dave
    As you say this is an old discussion the member that created is no longer on the forum  so I am closing it.
    I suggest you create a new discussion using the link below.

    Please click on the link for useful information

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
advertisement
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.