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single level fusion at c6 c7 not fusing.

miss grumpymmiss grumpy Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hi, I'm very concerned as to why my single level fusion doesn't seem to be fusing, and wondered what might happen if it doesn't fuse, I'm still in a soft collar 24/7 at the mo. the op was on June 28Th 2010. can anyone give me an idea of the normal procedure if this happens, my Dr says he will do some scans mid Sept then if still no progress discuss with me whats going to happen, all the other cervical discs are bulging and c5 c6 is in most trouble all due to cervical stenosis.i would love to here other people experiences.


  • Non fusion has a few meanings. First don't be to alarmed if your not fusing yet. I guess the biggie here is are you a smoker? If so you need to quit pronto. Did your surgeon say anything about ordering a bone growth stimulator, while there use hasn't been proved completely, if he/she has concerns now maybe the time. The other question is I take it you used Cadaver bone? Now is it a non-fusion or are you getting psuedoarthrosis? They are two different ball games. If your not having any associated pain with it, then the hardware is very strong and you can wait it out and see what happens. Sometimes people are what they term slow to fuse. Also do you have anything like arthritis where your not prone to make bone as fast?

    The gold standard approach to repair a non-fusion was the patients own bone and a posterior entry. However I have seen more and more surgeons using the anterior approach trying the patients own bone. Using the posterior approach just comes with a lot more significant pain. Also there is BMP, while not approved for the cervical spine, it is going in on one levels with a fusion issue. But it must go in posterior due to the issues with swelling. The swelling is what got the warning label put on it for the cervical spine.

    Your surgeon will have his/her protocol on what the believe is the gold standard for them. I have had the posterior approach and currently recovering now from one, it is a rough go with the muscle issues. Also the risk are a bit higher than with the anterior approach.

    Does your surgeon have you on any type of vitamins? I was shocked that two of the surgeons I have gotten opinions from now are using a vitamin. The one they ordered for me was not available from any stores and had to have my pharmacy special order it. The significance was the calcium and vitamin D that it contains. But because vitamins aren't regulated by the FDA, might have reasoning why it was a particular one to use. As they know this one has been tested for what it contains.

    Just be sure to wear the collar as they have suggested now and hopefully on your next appointment they will see some bone growth. My surgeon on this surgery said he knows it will take longer to get this fusion so I don't need to follow-up with him for three months and in the meantime just stay in my brace(miami J). So sounds like you have some what the same marching orders as I do, with the no movement. Hopefully in the meantime they will see some fusion going on, as someone who has gone through the revision surgery, it is not a fun process at all. The surgery I am recovering from now was adding to my fusions, but sense I have had psuedo already was the reasoning for the posterior and anterior approach and to get some hardware out.
  • Miss Grumpy,

    I see you stated that your surgery was June 28th of this year? With that, you are barely 2 months out from your surgery. My first fusion didn't show on the xrays at the 6 week post op. On the 6 month post op, fusion was finally showing. This early out, I don't think I would worry too much.

    Of course, if real concerned, contact your surgeon. I have found (going through it now), surgeons don't seem real worried until 'non fusion' goes to the year mark. Talk with your doctor, as like Tamtam said, if he is concerned, he may order a 'bone growth stimulator' which basically get the osteogenic (sp maybe?) process to be more likely to fuse. The hardware is very hardy, and unless there are symptoms causing concern, I would continue to follow your doctors instructions, and if there are any concerns, give him a call. I hope all turns out well on your next xray update. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • hi thank you for replying, my fusion was in the front i had a cage put in but no screws or plate i dont know where they got the bone from i think it was from my neck? i have osteoarthritis/ cervical stenosis, in my neck. i have never smoked I'm an ex fitness instructor, do they really mean rest as in put your feet up do nothing? cos i have a house to run so that's pretty much impossible.and now my lower back is hurting, iv never had pain there before. any how im trying to be seen before my next app in late sept.
  • I know life marches on even while we're healing, but you have to give your body time to heal. Doctors tailor our instructions based on us as individuals, and too based on what they do and their experience. It sounds like you might have been trying to live life as normal? If you have been too active, that can account for your issues now. Try resting, 'actually resting', and see if you start to feel better. :)

    My surgeon told me to rest, and to walk when I could, but otherwise no lifting over 5 lbs, no bending, twisting etc., with my head. Sure it stunk to be down to heal, but after all the pain, and then the surgery, I wasn't going to blow it. I hope you're feeling better. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • thank you, i will definitely try my hardest to delegate and think before i move >:D<
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  • I too think that you are still very young in your healing process. It took atleast 6 weeks out before there was fusion after my surgery last September. I was also in a soft neck collar 24/7 for a full 3 months and then my hard collar when I was in the car. Please do take it easy and rest. I can totally relate to having a house to run, however, your healing is more important than clean floors and laundry. I would venture to say that maybe your lower back may hurt due to laying down so much. I know that happens to me when my neck flares up with pain and I'm couch bound for a day or so. I'm due for another surgery on Sept. 3rd on my C5-6 and am not looking forward to 3 months of doing nothing again, however, I know it's crucial to my healing. Again, please plesae give your body the time it needs to heal before getting up and tending to you house. Keep us posted. ((((((soft hugs))))))
  • hey my friend i would like to add k this pain is due to some problem.for instance it might be possible due to some weight thing.. i would like to add k try to do as much rest as you can in order to heal this pain


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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • hi again thank you for your suggestion about weight issue, i weigh 8st and 5 foot tall so don't think my weight could be the prob, do you think the osteoarthritis can spread?
  • hi tamtam, can you tell me how much calcium and vit d they recommended, m seeing my GP tomorrow cos I'm worried about a swelling on the upper part of my neck at the back, its been there since the op, so i thought i would mention it to him.
  • Osteo-arthritis for me started in my 30's and now at 46, I'm eat up with it. My knee cartilage is just about nil throwing my gait off, which in turns hurts my low back. My lumbar discs went first, had a totally torn in two L4/5, then L3/4 started sliding out of place (facet joints worn out), then my neck problems started or surgery happened, I'd had neck problems for years anyway. My shoulders crunch and pop funky as well as my left hip. I ache and hurt most all the time. I've taken Celebrex for about 10 years to keep the inflammation back a bit if possible. It runs in my mom's side of the family very badly. My mom seems to be my future (if you know what I mean) from the way things are running. Osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease seem to be the same thing. I guess someone could have osteo only in their knees, but it wouldn't seem to make sense.

    I just wish they'd figure it out and come up with at least a cure or drug that totally arrests it and replenishes dried out discs or knees or regrows cartilage.

    Good luck with your fusing issues. I've had the same. Can be from some movement especially since you didn't have a plate only a cage. My graft started sinking into my bones, so I had to have the posterior neck surgery too and that has helped my fusion grow more. I'm not completely solid but I have enough solid spots that my surgeon thinks I'm ready for more. Ask for blood check on your Vitamin D/calcium values.
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