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Cervo-thoracic fusion - C-spine to T-spine

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:45 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Guys

I know there are some of you out there so HELP!!! I have had one well respected surgeon tell me I need surgery from C5 - T2. We haven't gotten to the specifics of whether this is all fusion or partial fusion and then hardware to stabilize.

My issue area seems to be c6/7. He feels that he can get rid of the upper back, shoulder, arm and collar bone pain by removing some bone and then stabilizing. All I know for sure right now is that it would be entirely posterior.

So who has done what and what happened? I'm scheduled for MRIs tomorrow and next Tuesday. Hopefully this will lead to more info.



  • Howdy Kris,

    From what you're describing, it almost sounds like he is wanting to do a fusion with a Corpectomy. Basically (and I had this twice) they remove a portion of the vertebral body, insert the graph and cage and then lock it down. If they go posterior, that tells me (guessing here okay?) they will reinforce with rods from the back.

    C6/7 is one of the harder areas to get to fuse due to it being the level (as I was told) that takes the most 'action' or 'movement' in your neck. My C6/7 not only isn't fusing, well actually the bottom did, top didn't, but the different hardware may be the cause of the crack/fracture in my C7 bone. If they do all of yours together, I am going to assume (hate that word girlfriend!!!) it will be better enforced than mine was. Just know that C6/7 is a difficult level for some.

    But.... aside from my back slide, after I awoke from the surgery, similar to my C5/6 *all* pain was gone! For me, the nerve damage was permanent thanks to how the disk did the ole "pop goes the weasel!" No regrets though... :) Please keep us posted on how things go. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Kris,

    The one thing I would be asking without a doubt is why he is adding extra levels in that have no issue. That defies logic and the more you fuse the more the wait bearing factor is on the other disc. So I would definitely be asking adjacent disc disease by doing that. To add to that I would most certainly get multiple opinions before doing that surgery. The other thing I would question is your range of motion. Also what your risking by not doing surgery all together and then of course what is the risk of not adding the additional levels in. But, I think they need to clarify why they are messing with levels that have no issues. What does your MRI say and what about a emg study?
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  • I agree with tamtam 100%. I am assuming that you have pain in your arm and your hand is most likely numb around your middle finger? Well if this is the case, which tends to be, than your main goal should be to get this to go away. If fusing your C6-7 will take the pain away, than by all means get some relief. I know all to well the pain that can occur from disc problems in the neck, and I hope that you have had the opportunity to try a more conservative approach first.

    However, my question to you is this: If fusing on segment of your spine will decrease or resolve your symptoms, and you have numerous muscles that are present to stabilize your spine, than why is it that this surgeon would want to fuse multiple segments. Now remember, whoever will pay the bill for the surgery will be paying for each segment that is fused. The price is most likely increased the same amount for each.

    This is not medical advice in any way, but it is merely to get you to question your goals vs. the doctors.
  • I fully agree with what Tamtam is stating. I for some reason thought you had fusions already in your neck, and they were talking of adding them into what you already have. If the C6/7 is the issue, why add the other levels?

    Now of course, there might be stuff we aren't informed on and as such warrants these other levels, but I am bit confused as well. C6/7 is a fussy level, no question (as I was told that is the area of most load and movement?), but why add C5? I know you have issues in the T1/2 - so that makes sense. I know you have MRI's scheduled, so maybe this post is mute. I hope they yield answers woman!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I don't know if he is talking fusion or just some type of stabilization. The only thing I got for sure was that he felt he needed to go high and low to make sure it held. Today and Tues are my MRIs so I should have more info next week. I'm wondering if I can get them to do a conference call from my neurologists office which is close instead of another trip into the city at this point.

    He also wanted to try injections to pinpoint the pain depending on the MRI.

    I was just hoping to find some people who have had work in this area to see what questions I should be asking. You guys are the best.
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  • i had a disc replacement on level 4,5 5,6 and 6,7 . My surgeon went in from the front and when i woke up my upper body pain was gone. No more arm or back pain at all. I didn't really ask too many questions of my surgeon because i knew it was something that had to be done. My spinal cord was badly compromised and it was either the surgery or ending up paralyzed.If you have any questions for me you can PM me.
  • question i am scheduled to have a c4 to t4 fusion with some bridge work /to prop up and stabilize c2 an 3,but idk what to expect during surgery,after,in hospital,recovery room or at home,i know the ortho surgeon said 7 to 10 days in the hospital I will admit I am fearful but with the congenital defects,hemivertebrae and scholiosis I have no choixe but to stabilize ity.to prevent full on cord breach/and encroachment...my down ise is ive seen tone of surgeons and this is the least invasive of all of them buthe has said with the degree of congenital issues he can not offer any outcome of painreleif for me , onkly stabilization....this is the hardest part to swallow...can anyone give me some feedback on what to expect an such during surgery,recovery,hospital time and home time of healing???thanks
  • atranquilheartaatranquilheart Posts: 1
    edited 10/13/2015 - 7:29 PM
    Needless to say I have chronic pain and my lumbar is effected severely. I'm fused from C2 TO T12 and lookking for advice on pain relief.

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