Hello - thank you for taking the time to read my post...
I had C5-C7 ACDF in March 2015 for Cervical Stenosis resulting in Myelomalacia and left sided upper and lower extremity radiculopathy. My recovery was slow but progressing as expected for 2 months. Then when screwing a light-bulb in to a ceiling fixture (of all things) I experienced electric shooting pains followed by severe bilateral upper extremity weakness. My surgeon ordered an MRI which showed the surgery site was "healing". The weakness slowly resolved by itself over 48-hour period and my doctor said it was caused by irritation of surgery site; however, he said my MRI showed I would need surgery at C3-C5. Since my surgery in March I have had increasing periods of pain over the spine itself that are usually relieved by a course or two of oral steroids. For the past 2 months oral steroids have not been helping and I ended up in the urgent care for x-rays. Urgent Care doctor said x-ray showed Psuedoarthritis and possible failed fusion but I needed a CAT scan to confirm. He suggested I contact my surgeon to get the order. I have attempted to contact my surgeon by phone and messaging (patient portal) and have gotten no response. Since this time I self-referred to Pain Management and have had 1 ESI so far that has not helped. I asked the Pain Mgmt doctor about the CT scan and he opted to start by ordering x-rays of the c-spine.
My questions - can a failed fusion be determined or ruled out by XRAY or is advanced imaging needed? Is a CT scan or is an MRI preferred for determining a solid vs failed fusion? Since surgery, my strength in the LLE is about 95% recovered and LUE is about 70% recovered, however I am having a lot of pain that is different from before the surgery. It is less in the extremities and is more over the upper back and neck itself. Could this be a result of the C3-C5 issues or more indicative of a failed fusion? Is it possible the surgery site is still healing/fusing or is any fusing done at this point? I'm sure there are some people on the forum with experience in failed cervical fusions - is there any advice or insight you could provide me?
Thank you in advance.