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Suspected cervical facet joint instability, help!



  • SandraRSSandraR NetherlandsPosts: 8
    Thank you Nutcase007 for your answers. As always I have a few more questions :-)
    1. Did they offer you other other treatment than fusion? Like Prolotherapie?
    2. How was it determined that fusion was the best option in your case/ which criteria did they use to come to the decision to fuse?
     3. The swelling you experience, did the doctors offer any explanation, like lymph vessel related issues?

  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 920
    SandraR - Answers to your last questions:
    1) Question:  treatment than fusion?  Reply: I my case, the soft tissue joint at my right C3/C4 joint had been ripped apart.  Think of it as a broken leg on a three legged stool.  Since the soft tissue part of the joint had been ripped apart, the boney parts of the facet joint were rubbing together and not providing any support.  An artificial disc replacement was not an option, because for an ADR to properly work, still requires the facet joints at that level to be healthy.  So the answer is no.  My only option was fusion.  In my case, the neurosurgeon used a carbon fiber cage implant.
    2) Question: determined that fusion was the best option?  Reply: Please see first reply.
    3) Question:  swelling...?  Reply: I could never get any doctor to answer that question.  In my case, I think there was two primary reasons:  1)  I had movement at C3/C4 level on my spine for 36 years, so the soft tissue around the ripped facet joint was very inflamed.  2) In my case, the procedure was an ADCF, with carbon fiber cage implant with anterior plating.  Even though the C3/C4 level was stabilized, it took another 30 months for the boney part of the facet joint to fuse.  As my neurosurgeon explained to me, for the body to fuse a joint, it requires an inflammation process.  Finally this past week after multiple tries at physical therapy, I am starting to regain proper movement in my neck.  I do have multiple autoimmune conditions, so my neck inflammation could have been worse that normal.               
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  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    You say that cervical instability isn't diagnosed or treated, but what about the DDD and bulging?

    You might be interested in my story, to read it follow the link below in my signature.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • SandraRSSandraR NetherlandsPosts: 8
    Do you know if your neurosurgeon could vieuw the softissue tear; or could he see the facet joint opening up/flapping when flexing?
    Was the surgeon able to gain further information during the operation and view more damage than was available on the bone scan, or did the bonescan  provide him everything nescesarry to discide his course of action?
  • SandraRSSandraR NetherlandsPosts: 8
    Bruce Eitman, Thank you for sharing your story. I would like to come back to your story a little bit later.
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  • nutcase007 


    I suspect i have the same issue but most neurosugeons around me do not want to order me a bone scan because they don't see the purpose. I have had all these test come back normal, but i know somethings wrong with my facet joints. I hear a constant clicking in my neck even when I lay down on the side of my head. Its really scary and i think i need surgery but all these doctors keep saying I'm fine even though they are not going through what I'm going through.

    If you ever read this message please help me out. it would mean a lot . Thanks! 

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