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Second Cervical Fusion Surgery

Hi I am new to this site. I had anterior C5-C7 fusion on August 2010. The pain & numbness has never really gone away. I just saw my Surgeon today & was informed that I herniated C4 which is compressing on my spinal cord & need surgery as soon as possible. I am upset & nervous about another surgery. Has anyone needed to have a second fusion surgery because they herniated the disc above or below the first fusion. Also one of my two level fusion is not completely fused also so the Dr. said when he goes in he might have to fix that also. I would like to hear about your experiences with a second surgery.

Thank You


  • tamtamttamtam Posts: 2,748
    edited 12/18/2012 - 5:30 AM
    There are a few of us floating around that have had to have multiple surgeries including myself. The issue your surgeon is describing is called adjacent disc disease. Which means when they fuse, the levels above and below the fusion do all the work. Keep in mind the spine is a series of joints, so when they take the disc out, they are removing the joint and the spine no longer moves at that level.

    As far as the non-union, which is what that called when you don't fuse or it can also be what is called psuedoarthrosis. They have different meanings, and my suspicion is if it is psuedo is why he/she believes they might have to fix it. One thing I would look at is if you didn't fuse, which at this far out, I doubt you will, what type of bone grafting material will be used. If your first fusion was with allograft(cadaver), will they be using autograft(your bone), or some other synthetic form such as BMP. Will this surgery be done from the front again, using your old incision or new incision or possible the posterior side of the neck. If it is a posterior fusion the recovery time is going to be a little longer as it is a harder surgery to recover from. Also I would find out if your original plate is going to stay or of rods will be placed from the posterior side or a cage?

    Look in the FAQ section above and there is a link of 38 questions to ask a spinal surgeon. See what of those questions you can answer yourself, and if you can't answer them all, be sure to find out the answers. Don't assume because you have done this before, that it will be done the someway. That is some personal advice, as I made that mistake, on a redo, and learned the hard way.

    Anyway just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted.
  • I am just checking in to see if you did need the 2nd surgery. I had an ACDF of C5-C6 last year and just injured myself 2 weeks ago. My window of my car was stuck and I turned sideways pushing and pulling on it. Needless to say, I have been to the ER and an Ortho doctor. The ER said my fusion was fine and said it was just muscle spasms. I couldn't lift my right arm and wen to see an Ortho because I thought I might have torn my rotator. I had any X-ray and he gave me a shot saying that it was bursitis. I was still in a lot of pain and called my Neurosurgeon and they ordered an MRI. The called me the other day and I have to go see him this week because the MRI is showing a new hernation at C4. The pain has calmed down quite a bit but I just don't know what to think. I have not gone to work in 2 weeks and have been doing ice and heat. I am terrified that I am going to have to go through another surgery.
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