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Possible complications after C3 to T2 fusion

I had successful ACDF C4,5,6 in September. However by the end of November the disc above (C3) and T1 had herniated as well. On December 18 I had decompression and fusion of C3 through T2. There were complications during the surgery (at one point they were not sure if I would have ANY motor function) but I came through ok. After 2 weeks of agony, I was able to start moving around on my own. There was residual numbness in my forearms, which my doctor attributed to the muscles needing to heal. As of today the numbness has increased in my left forearm, thumb, forefinger and middle finger of my left arm and the same symptoms in my right arm to a much lesser degree. I'm wondering if anyone has experienced anything like this, or if another surgery may be on the horizon?


  • Not quite the same, but some similarities.
    I had severe complications from my C5-T1 ACDF, where I was partially paralyzed and could not walk for weeks, and then with assistance, I was able to walk using a walker. Went back and froth from walkrer to chair for 4 months. It was a very long 4 months. The recovery has taken years, but I only barely limp most times, and I will forever be grateful for that.
    I ended up with a 2nd surgery, Anterior and Posterior Vertebrectomies, laminectomies, and fusion including a titanium cage in the center, plate on the front, rods and screws in the back. That one became a royal pain in my neck (no pun intended) and it has taken years to find appropriate pain management. I am finally using a pain pump along with some oral meds and I seem to maintain, although there are certainly ups and downs.
    I don't know what advice to give, but I do want to encourage you that it can get better. It will take a lot of patience on your end, and you will have to be very involved in your physical therapy/occupational therapy. I hope you continue to improve, and that no future levels go. If you have a question, send me a message. I don't get on often, and I just realized that messages are deleted after 30 days. I'll try to pop in at least once a month. Good luck to you. Keep the faith!
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,166
    A few months after my first fusion surgery, all of my symptoms came back within minutes. The diagnosis was swelling and I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory. It took several weeks before all the symptoms disappeared again.

    So, consider contacting your surgeon to discuss your symptoms. I use my surgeons portal to ask questions. it doesn't get me directly to the surgeon, but does get me to his secretary, and she works hard to get responses for me.

    Spine-health Moderator

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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