In March, 2014 I had a C3/C4 carbon fiber cage ADCF fusion. The neurosurgeon told me that my C3/C4 right facet joint should spontaneously fuse since it is "bone on bone". The need for the fusion was an old rear-end vehicle accident with whiplash where I was paralyzed for several hours on my right side (including arm and leg). Yes, the vehicle was legal at the time even though it did not have a headrest.
I had improving recovery for the first five months after the ADCF fusion. At my six month check-up with the neurosurgeon, I was complaining of pain / pressure in the right facet area of my neck. I was told it was healing pain. At eleven months, I had to take time off from work because of the severe pain. I begged for an RFA in right C3/C4 facet joint and finally was able to obtain the RFA at 16 months post ADCF. I obtained 90 percent pain relief from the RFA that lasted for about three months. At 19 months post ADCF, the facet pain came back so bad that I had to again take time off from work. This time I lost my job.
From multiple SPECT bone scans, it is documented that my C3/C4 right facet joint swelling keeps getting worse than it was before the ADCF fusion. The swelling is now so bad that I now have dysphagia and can only eat pureed foods. I had an ENT second opinion and she agrees that the cause of my dysphagia is neurological, likely from the facet swelling. I have had second opinions from both neurosurgery and pain management. They both are telling me to "live with it". I have requested an evaluation for posterior facet surgery and they both tell me it is too risky.
I'm trying to live with it, but not doing very well. Quality of life is very low. Any ideas?