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bulging disc at site of fusion? How is this possible?? In a lot of pain

HI. I had an acdf of c5/c6-c6/c7 on Feb. 18th. All seemed well. I blew through PT, and was released early. Was back to a pretty normal routine till about a month an a half ago when the pain came back.

Saw the original surgeon and he sent me for an MRI with contrast. I am showing a recurring bulge in c6.

How is this possible if all the disc was removed during surgery? I am fusing well, and have a cage and screws in those areas.

I am in all of the original pain I had before surgery, minus the shootnig pains down the right arm.

Help!!! Getting very frustrated and discouraged.

The surgeon says he can go in from the back and fix it, but I'm not sure if I want to be cut open again.
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Comments

  • This does sound very frustrating. I have no experience with issues with the cervical spine, I *thought* the discs were removed for fusions as well... I know mine were, but that was lumbar (and I assumed the ones in my thoracic spine were removed too but I guess I could be wrong) so I'm assuming cervical is just different. I would certainly get another opinion FIRST then start considering the pros and cons. Best of luck to you!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Thanks, AllMetal. Very frustrating, and I hate to complain as I know a TON of people on these boards have it way worse than I do, but it wears on you after a while.

    Here I was thinking I was "fixed", but that just doesn't seem to be the case.
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  • I had a doctor's appointment and asked about the disc issue (in terms of my spine). I do not have discs in my lumbar, but he said I do have "several" but not all discs in my thoracic spine (he pointed to various places along one of my CT shots, it all looked like.... grayish to me...lol), even though it is considered "fused".... he said that the places where the discs were left in.... that they really weren't "discs", that if he biopsied them he would find a calcified substance, but nothing similar to a true "disc" that over time since that area had been stabilized with hardware/fusions that the disc stopped working and over time just no longer remain "discs". Does that confuse you even more?!?!?!? lol
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I think I have read somewhere, possibly on here in the instructional videos, that in some instances portions of the disc may be left in situe to act as a container for the bone graft being placed in and around. Have to confess, it's not something I would have expected and for my lumbar fusion I believe they were removed fully and cages used that retain the bone graft materials.
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