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Herniation Post ACDF above surgery-2nd surgery???

sinatrafan44ssinatrafan44 Posts: 64
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm back and looking for some feedback before I go for a I surgical consult next week. I Had an ACDF c5-7 and the past several months I have had severe arm pain with some numbness in fingers.I was given a selective nerve root injection and tried PT and a host of drugs. Nothing worked They did an MRI and showed herniation at the level above fusion. Because of insurance changes I am changing surgeons and have been referred to an orthopedic surgeon at a Medical School hospital that is part of an interdisciplinary Spine Center. My first surgeon was a neuro..I am hoping this is not is big factor in skill/outcome level...For those that have had to have multiple surgeries do they typically take out the old hardware and start over or do they build around the old stuff. Would they do a fusion or discetomy ? I am sick to my stomach at the thought of another possible surgery especially with it being at level 4-5..I am worried about swallowing and vocal chord issues that could happen...Do I stay how I am, which is miserable and having to take narcotics just to get through the day, or do I risk surgery where maybe I could get better or get worse? The last surgery wiped out my bank of vacation and sick days so financially this could be a factor..I wish I could just suck it up but it is just so draining and I am so sick of the chronic pain. So next week I need to be prepared with questions and make some decisions..I am so depressed, and with the holidays I just want to pull the covers over my head. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have:) Happy Holidays..Amy


  • Hey Fran,

    Well that is a bummer about needing more surgery. I can tell you from someone whom has been in surgery on multiple occasions that it is never no fun. If there is a bright side it is that at least you know what to expect.

    As far as the hardware being removed I say yes, don't let them build a bridge. Just be sure the new surgeon has access to the type of hardware that was placed prior and they don't assume on the type of hardware. But I would specifically ask that question. Your prior levels don't need the hardware once you are fused. Also ask about the entry as far as where they will be going in at. My suspicion is they don't like to use someone else's incision. But I would check and see if it could be done save you from having the multiple scar areas. Vocal cords are always at risk in any surgery, so your risk are about the same. I did loose a voice for quit some time but thankful for some botox and having it back.

    I would definitely be prepared to discuss surgery with the new surgeon and make a entire list of questions. Look in the FAQ section and the article preparing to meet with a spine surgeon. While you have been through this all before it may jog your mind to come up with questions, so your prepared. I have used that list many times even with the number of surgeries I have had.

    If there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Sorry to hear you're facing another surgery for adjacent level failure. I am one that they left the old hardware in, and added below it with this wing thing (see my avatar). Due to the difference in loading (fore / aft) plate vs the wing (up and down), my C6 vertebra cracked around month 5 post op. I am facing a revision plus the addition of C7/T1, and possibly C2/3.

    I was under the understanding (like Tamtam posted) that he was going to take my plate out, and then new hardware for the new fusion. Don't let them bridge, or put a wing thing like mine. I'm almost a year and a half out, and still a mess. Please let us know how your consult goes. Support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • Oh brenda..sorry to hear about your issues...Thanks for the advice, also TAMTAM..it will be interesting if they do want to do surgery how they will approach it..I will definitely be updating and hearing all of your thoughts..thanks again..A
  • I had ACDF (3 level, C4/5, 5/6, and 6/7) done in December 2012, and all was going along just fine, then about 2 weeks ago I woke up with a really painful stiff neck. I went to see my PCP and she ordered an MRI, and a consult with my neurosurgeon which happened last Friday. He came in and asked what I had been doing, and I said nothing, he said that C3/4 has ruptured. He wants to do surgery ASAP, and said it will be a front entry just like last time. I still haven't forgotten how painful the last one was and how long it took me to get better. I am so dreading another surgery, and part of me would be just fine if I didn't wake up after surgery. I think that because I do know what to expect, that I am really, really scared this time.
    Brenda, what was your outcome? what did they do/not do?
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