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kyphosis (loss of normal neck curvature) and artificial disc replacement

ouchoouch Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone: Does anyone know what happens if you get an Artificial disc replacement surgery with a neck that is straight as a board? I have had a couple of doctors say I could benefit from ADR, but my x-ray shows that I have a definite kyphosis (reversal of the normal curve of the neck) with the worst part right at the point of my severe disc herniation. From my research, the straight neck might cause the ADR to fail. The kyphosis causes more pressure on my spinal cord with some myelopathy, so not to do any surgery at all puts me at risk for permanent spinal cord or nerve damage. The other option is a triple level fusion (YUCK). If I get a triple fusion, I fear I won't be able to go back to nursing at all, which would be devastating to me. Has anyone had an ADR with a straight neck (loss of cervical lordosis)? Or, has anyone had a triple level fusion and been able to go back to a very busy, stressful, and physically demanding job? Can you turn your neck enough to drive safely? To give up nursing is out of the question for me...it is my niche in life, ya know? Would appreciate any advice or if anyone has had triple fusion in the neck, how did it go? How are you now? Thank you for reading this and for your advice.


  • Hello. I came here looking for light at the end of the tunnel but none in sight. I am 17 mos. post op. acdf of c4-c6. I still have pain everyday. It gets worse when I do ANY activity. I was working as a CNA and in school to become a registered nurse. I just quit because I could not tolerate being on my feet for 12 hours and I couldn't lift anyone or do my job. My husband bought me a car with a backup camera which helps with the driving, but turning to check for traffic is a problem for me. My neck pops and shoots pain down my spine. I cannot pick up my daughter or play many games with her. I can't do anything atheletic with serious consequences and I've gained about 10lbs as a result. I've seen PTs and pain mgmt docs and nothing has helped. Everyone is different so maybe yours could be successful. My surgeon was brilliant and he's is the doc who invented the minimally invasive method, but I guess my body just did not respond. My advice for you is to trust your research and find out if the side effects are going to outweigh the benefit and please do not take your neck for granted for your job. No one can really tell you what's right for you.
  • Hi Laura.

    I had a 3-lvl ACDF w/hardware/screws on Oct. 21. At about 6 weeks post, I feel really good. My ROM is pretty good, but I'm still in a collar (soft, mostly). I can drive with the soft collar and turn a lot at the waist to see to the left. I consider my surgery a success, although I don't know how I'm fusing yet. I have some pain and stiffness, but it's getting better. I think if you get fusion surgery, just plan on being at home and taking it easy for AT LEAST 8 weeks, maybe 12 for a demanding job like yours.

    Good luck on whatever you decide - be strong and I know you'll come out on the top of it!

    Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. :D

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  • Laura:
    Neck pain with loss of the normal lordosis is common, and most of the treatments available don't do anything good for it. Many times it is due to injury to the ligaments in the neck.

    The only treatment that really focuses on the ligaments, is Prolotherapy. This is done by injecting an irritant which is usually glucose in high concentration =/- sodium morrhuate (an extract form cod liver oil). These thing promote the growth of fibrous tissue which rapidly reduces pain and strengthens the ligaments.

    You can to to www.getprolo.com to find someone close to where you live who does it. Prepare to open your wallet. Your insurance will NOT pay for it. I've had prolo on me, with good results. My wife has had good, but not stellar results with prolo on her sacroiliac joints.

    I wish you well,

    Ken Noel

    PS I have very limited experience with artificial disks (one patient who had one when she came to me.) she had disabling pain continuing at the level of the artificial disk. I need more data to make reasonable comments about them. I need convincing.
  • What a pleasure to read your input, thank you. I am sorry for your ongoing and nasty pain lemissah and cath. What a bummer. I hope that in time, your pain will decrease and that your strength will increase. Good luck to you both. Lemissah I bet it was crushing to have to quit nursing school. I am so sorry. Are you able to work at all now? Cath111, at what point do they know that your neck has fused? (How much time does it usually take for triple fusion?) What happens if a fusion fails, do you know? It is very good to hear that you feel really good. It is very encouraging. Triple fusion is huge I hear. And, thanx for the time estimate to get back to work. I had a feeling it was going to be "months," but I wasn't sure about how many months people are unable to work or have to lie low after such a big surgery.
    KenNoel, thanx so much for your response and expertise. My primary doc is very skeptical just like you about ADRs. If you get more info within the next month or so, I would love to pick your brain, so to speak. Why do you think that insurance companies won't pay for prolo? Is it because it is not FDA approved, or do some find it harmful or ? I will visit the site and investigate it as I had no idea that the loss of lordosis was due to ligament injury. I haven't had anyone even address it until recently. Thanx for the site and for the tip.
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