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C7-T1 Fusion Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Newbie here. Just got diagnosed with a herniated cervical disk at C7-T1 with fusion & bone graft recommended. I've had 3 previous procedures, all laminectomy-diskectomy with no fusions. Two lumbar and one at C6-7. No problems with any. I'm a bit concerned now about the hip pain issue, hardware in my neck and recovery time. Anybody have any recommendations? Must-haves? I've gotten excellent care from the Scripps Clinic neurosurgery doctors in La Jolla, CA. Is this a rare location for this procedure? Special surgical skills needed? I'm a bit intimidated. Thanks.

Frank :sick:


  • Frank,

    15 years ago I had cervical disc fusion surgery and was told I had a choice of donor bone or bone graft. I was afraid of having to deal with two different incisions and pain areas, so I chose the donor bone. I have had no problems with the donor bone issue.

    I am having symptoms again now but I believe those issues would be present whether I would have had donor bone or bone graft.....

    Sorry, I'm in Louisiana and have no knowledge of CA doctors....but I wanted to respond to your post at least as far as the donor bone/bone graft issue.

    Wanted to ask: what are your symptoms? Mine are numbness/tingling/burning down both arms to hands and pinky and ring fingers. Neuro thinks based on just EMG that it could be C8/T1 related. Having MRI next week to see exactly what's what. See that your area of concern is c7/t1. Thanks!!

    Good luck and keep asking questions!!!
  • I had a two level ACDF (C5-C7) three years ago. I also went with the donor bone, but my doctor did a procedure where he took my bone marrow from my hip and put with the donor bone. It was suppose to help with rejection.
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  • I'm fused from C5-T1. The only problem with the C7/T1 fusion is that, unless you have a long neck, the docs can sometimes have trouble reaching it from the front. I'm fortunate, my doc said that he could have gone down another 1 or 2 levels....just call me a giraffe! While it's not the most common disc for surgery it's not unheard of.

    I wish you all the best. Please keep in touch and let us know how things go for you.

  • Hi all, I have been looking through the site and I have found so much useful information. I am 38 years old (male) and I am now 10 days post c7-t1 acdf with graft bone from my hip. Everything is going very well, except for a few worries.
    First a little background info:
    Back in April 09 I had severe left arm pain down the middle of my forearm to my thumb and index finger and weakness and my MRI showed bulging of c4-c5 c5-c6 and a herniation of c6-c7 with left foraminal narrowing and nerve impingement. The MRI said "all viewed thoracic vertebrae are normal" Within 2 weeks of physical therapy I was fine.I am a high school teacher and over the summer i overworked my body creating a deck in the backyard all by myself, but had no problems with arm pain or anything , my strength in my left arm came back. Then after carrying a roll of linoleum on my left shoulder (dumb move). I seem to lift with my shoulders instead of my legs and that is probably the cause of many of my neck disc problems .I also do just about everything (home improvement, car servicing myself as I do not like hiring people to do things I can do myself. I started having SEVERE crippling pain in my left arm again and in my upper back and shoulder blade on the left. The pain seemed to run a different course down my arm and was now going through my tricep, down the underside of my forearm and to my ring finger and pinkie. My ability to type was the first sign of weakness I noticed. I just couldn't lift move and coordinate my ring and pinkie finger on my left arm. The MRI at that point showed a herniated c7-t1 disk with foraminal narrowing but no mention of nerve impingement. I went to one PT visit where my left grip was 40 and my right grip was 120. After that PT visit the pain got worse. The mri was compared to the April MRI and the c6-c7 disk looked "improved" I requested an adr but my surgeon at hospital for special surgery in Manhattan said the prodisc-c was not approved for c7-t1 level and he didnt want to do anything that wasn't FDA approved. I agreed on doing the fusion (I live in long island and the car ride into Manhattan,the waiting room wait and even the dr's exam was so excruciating I just wanted it fixed right away) I requested an adr for the cervical vertebrae, even if only for the previously herniated c6-c7. My surgeon didn't want to do any "preventative" surgery on my cervical vertebrae because i wasn't having any symptoms and the MRI showed improvement. I was hoping to do one stop shopping in a sense, knowing that a fusion puts more stress on upper and lower discs and being that my c6-c7 already ruptured, i was hoping to get it taken care of with an adr so I wouldn't be returning to surgery for that. He said he just was going to do surgery on what was causing me pain now and that if there were any complications from doing other discs even if they weren't warranted at the time then it wasn't right to do . He also said that the movement from physical therapy could have severed my nerve since it was so crushed on the MRI. (my pain Dr. prescribed me the PT and this was before I saw the surgeon in NYC) I felt trusting in the surgeon and needed to be free of my pain (2 epidural injections from pain doctor didn't help(first one helped for 4 days ,second more concentrated one didn't do anything for the pain) I could only stand for about 5-10, minutes until the pain was so severe I had to lie down. upon Lying down the pain actually got worse and then would subside. My surgeon thought he saw a bone spur on the MRI and had me go for a cat scan before surgery. He said on my day of surgery (which was put on as urgent and done in three days after first seeing the surgeon (this was a second opinion because my original doctor worked out of a hospital i wasn't happy with and I was told by numerous people of the excellence of HSS in NYC) so he said the day of my surgery that there was a lot of "slippage" in that area on he cat scan but didn't mention anything about a bone spur he said i may have a cyst at the facet joint which could be taken care of later if the symptoms didn't go away. Surgery went as planned (decompression and fusion of c7-t1 with autograft from my pelvis and metal plate with four screws) and I did vomit twice from the anesthesia and then from the pain pump. I had vertigo in the hospital but still went home after a day and a half. It ll stopped after i stopped the pain meds and got some nausea meds. I did get the usual constipation after coming home (which caused me to get diverticulitis (had that prob for a long time) Now Im finishing my antibiotics Cipro and Flagyl and feeling fine . No pain meds needed at all. My left arm pain is gone and I still have numbness and some tingling but I already feel stronger in my left fingers. I have no back pain or left shoulder pain anymore and I can now stand for hours I am due for my first post-op visit this Wednesday (in three days). Here is my main issue. I am experiencing a subtle clicking sound that seems to be coming from the site. It doesn't hurt, maybe feels a little achy when i get it but I am so afraid that it is the bone fusing and then cracking apart again, reversing any progress. I sure hope that's not what it is , I am trying to eat high protein and calcium to speed recovery and I am in a Philadelphia hard collar 24/7 except when showering but I keep my head stiff and straight) --- My other concerns are the re-herniating of c6-c7 due to more stress from the fusion of c7-t1 . But My main concern is this clicking sound. I will tell my Dr on Wednesday at my initial post-op visit and xrays (they did one set of xrays before discharging me from the hospital but these 14 day xrays will look for correct fusing. I just hope it's not starting to fuse and then re-breaking and that's what I am hearing. Thank you all so much for taking your time reading (and hopefully replying to my post ) THANK YOU
    I am hopeful but worried!
    C6-C7 herniation (pain resolved after two weeks of PT) April 2009

    ACDF C7-T1 10/21/09

    Bulging dessicated discs c4-c7 compressing into thecal sac but not compressing spine or causing nerve impingement (no painyet)
  • I just stupidly tried to open the oven door and I had a loud pop with some burning feeling which went away in about 10 minutes. I also had a pain when i reached behind and palpated my back with my finger. It is much lower than the site of my surgery and from what I read on this site the popping is common and not to be worried about unless there is a lot of pain with it. I hope I didn't rupture a lower thoracic disc as that area is still a little sore with movement but much better after a shower. This is much different from the clicking or cracking sound I hear at the site when getting up from sitting or standing, this was more of a pop than a click and wasn't at the exact site of the fusion surgery

    Thanks to all on this site, you have given me answers and much hope.

    :-)(Happy) but still a little :-| (worried)
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  • I had my two week visit to the surgeon and he removed the stitches and took off the collar for good. He said just take it easy, People feel like they can jump right back into it and they do and hurt themselves. I feel awesome. I have to remind my self to take it easy and that i just had surgery. Still have lump in throat, feel like trapped burp - But no big deal. Neck muscles get a little sore - I am a side sleeper, and i noticed i can sleep on my right side but going to the left I feel arm tightness and pain so I dont turn that way. Very happy with the results ! :-) :-) :-)
  • Leduet, your story sounds very parrallel to my own. I had a c3 -c7 ACDF in 2004. I first started getting symptoms in 2001. I've worked out and moved furiture, and drive @ 2hrs to work each day for @ the last 8 yrs. Well, I ripped up all my carpet, moved furiture etc in Jan, and felt very tight. I got on the ground and did some aggressive stretching (dumb move.) I at first felt really good. The pole in my neck feeling I had for the last 8 yrs was gone. Then the next day I felt as if I'd aged 40 yrs (I'm 46). I felt as if a total body wekness to include legs, shoulders, tripceps, biceps, wrists, and ring and pinky fingers. It took so long to get to the doctor, that I was in a panic. I took some time off work, and started medicating. Vioxx, Fexeril, and Naproxen. (I was med free for 8 yrs) Now I have wrist pain, lower neck pain, and pain & weakness down my left side (shoulder, bicep, wrist and hand). Where did you seek medical attention. There are not many folks on here with good reports after what you've been through. I've seen some posts but they seem to not follow-up after last post, when I see a revision surgery. I'll be praying for you, my friend. God Bless

  • robinflrrobinfl Merritt Island FLPosts: 42

    I was told C7- T1 was rare, hard to get to. How did yours go? My surgeon said only 75% chance he can event to it to fuse because it is behind my clavical?

    AnonymousUser said:

    Newbie here. Just got diagnosed with a herniated cervical disk at C7-T1 with fusion & bone graft recommended. I've had 3 previous procedures, all laminectomy-diskectomy with no fusions. Two lumbar and one at C6-7. No problems with any. I'm a bit concerned now about the hip pain issue, hardware in my neck and recovery time. Anybody have any recommendations? Must-haves? I've gotten excellent care from the Scripps Clinic neurosurgery doctors in La Jolla, CA. Is this a rare location for this procedure? Special surgical skills needed? I'm a bit intimidated. Thanks.

    Frank :sick:

  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I am closing it.


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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