Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Incomplete Fusion, Anyone?

SpineySSpiney Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:49 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Just got the news. Anyone know anything about incomlete fusion at C6-7? I am so worried. Just want to be prepared when I see the doc. Does this typically mean surgery?


  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    Welcome to S.H. forums. I'm not sure what incomplete fusion could mean. It could mean that it's fusing but hasn't fused all the way??? But it's better than getting news that it's not fusing at all. I think you will have to wait for youre Dr. appoint. to find out for sure. But try not to let it stress you out. Because stress and worry will trigger pain.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of information on the site with some great articles and videos and the members of the forum are very knowledgeable and supportive.

    When was your surgery? I had a 3-lvl ACDF (C4-7) in Oct. 08 and although my C4/5 and 5/6 fused in about six months or so, it took quite a lot longer for me to get a complete fusion at C6/7, more than a year. C6/7 is the most difficult cervical area to fuse because it moves the most when you move your head. So you might need to be patient, depending on when your fusion was.

    Good luck and please let us know what your surgeon says.

  • advertisement
  • HI Spiney,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many going through what you are. As far as your question regarding fusion, it depends on when your surgery was and if it is a non-union or psuedonarthrosis. Typically if it is psuedo it will mean a redo as that is a false joint and is different that a non union. Now if it is a non-union it would be dependent on when your surgery was and what the graph itself looks like and the space left to go. Also if the graft has started to reasorb meaning the fusion progress has started to go back wards and the space is opening up more.

    So basically as far as if your headed for another surgery, only the surgeon would be able to tell. What type of symptoms are you having now? I have had revision surgery, it is not fun but it is doable. Keep us posted on what you find out from the surgeon. Once again welcome to spine-health.
  • Thanks for the welcome. I was hanging out here a few years ago and now I am back. My surgery was two years ago. I have had continued pain but felt it must just be me. Surgeons had me at MMI after a year. Well, I decided to go back for a check-up and saw on the reports that the fusion was incomplete after 2 years and that there is slippage above the fusion. No wonder I have had chronic headaches! Atleast now I feel as if my aches and pain and complaints are justified. I am just feeling stressed at the possibility of another surgery. Lets hope that is not the case.
  • I had a 2 level ACDF C5-6 C6-7. I can't believe that 2 of the levels fused in 6 months and the other one took a full year. Did you use a bone simulator with the ACDF? Why do you feel the 6-7 is the most difficult and moves the most? I know it has been a while but do you remember when you went back to work, drove comfortably and increased your ROM. I am a teacher and had my surgery on 12/9/2010. I am getting ansy about being inside and would like to consider going back to work. I am a teacher and miss my kids and colleagues. Thanks for your insight.
  • advertisement
  • Yes, I used a bone stimulator for four months after my ACDF. My surgeon used off-label BMP for my fusion, which I believe helped me fuse so well.

    I was told by my surgeon, even before surgery, that the C6/7 level is the most difficult to fuse because it moves the most when you move your head. Because we're generally only in a hard brace for four to six weeks, we start moving our head after that, before full fusion takes place.

    Like most here, I remember my fusion almost like it was yesterday. I started driving after four weeks, after my hard brace was off and I was on a soft collar. I didn't drive very much at first because I was afraid to turn my head, but I got more comfortable with it. I just tried to stay away from intersections where I had to turn a lot to see oncoming traffic.

    My surgery was on Oct. 21, 2008 and I went back to work part time in early January. Just when I was ready to go back to full time and my FMLA ran out, I was laid off. Go figure. Anyway, my job was a graphic designer and I spent a lot of time on the computer which is difficult after a cervical surgery. Being teacher, I'd be concerned about all the head turning or keeping your head down for any length of time.

    In any case, it's totally a personal decision between you and your surgeon as to when it's a good time to go back to work. The problem lies in deciding to go back and then realizing it's too early. By then, it's very difficult to go back to STD from your employer's perspective. So be sure you're ready to go back. I know you're antsy about being inside, but recovery is definitely a test of patience and it's most difficult when you feel better and want to do more things, but your spine isn't quite yet ready.

    My ROM really wasn't too bad once I started wearing the soft brace, but increased even more after PT, which I didn't do until a year later due to insurance issues.

    Keep in mind that you're only just over five weeks out from fusion and I can't imagine going back until at least eight weeks. But like I said, it's your decision, but many times there's no turning back. You're still relatively early out from major spine surgery, so keep that in mind while making your decision. There's nothing worse than going back too early and you can read a lot of those stories on here.

    Take care Frenchfri and good luck on your decision and fusing. Please keep us posted.


    PS Spiney, sorry for highjacking your thread - I'll talk with Frenchfri in her other post, just wanted to answer her questions. Thanks for your understanding.
  • What is the next step and is the part of the pain that just never stops 24/7.

  • Post deleted by authority member Cindy. Spamming is a forum violation.
Sign In or Register to comment.