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So confused...flex xray sorta ok but see movement?

Ok so 11 mths post ACDF on 5/6 & 6/7. Still been in pain all this time just like before I had surgery so basically all I felt different was the profound hand numbness that just stayed at a semi numb but its because I have severe carpal tunnel. I went back in to see the Dr on Wed and when I told him I was tired of hurting and was popping and crunching in my neck like before surgery and my voice was getting weird off and on, he wanted to get a flex xray to see what was going on before thinking about what to do next to get rid of the pain. So...they just called and said that they looked at the xray and everything looks basically ok. Said they see some degenerative changes and some arthritis and on the flexion portion there is some movement there but nothing to worry about right now and let them know if I had any more problems.( Ummmm really?? Why is there movement when it is supposed to be fused?)So I said so wait what about what he is going to do about working on the pain and he said something about maybe injections etc and she oh yeah I see that but he rushed out of here and apparently didn't see that so it will be Monday before I call you back. Argh!!! More wait.

Ok so really, why is there movement when it is fused? I am sooo hideously happy that nothing major has happened that will require surgery again such as screw loose, broken plate, herniation at an adjacent level etc but now I just am at a loss again like I have been for this whole journey of trying to get normal. I could just sit down and bawl. I was hoping for an action plan...basically a light at the end of the tunnel...and now I still see the dark hole.


  • joowee40joowee40 Mississippi Posts: 308
    Wow..kind of surprised no views or comments on this
  • Have you had a post-op CT? That's the only true way to know if you are fused. I had flex xrays 8 months out that showed absolutely no movement. A few weeks later, I had a post-op CT, which shows that I still do not have a complete fusion (although my doctor thinks I will still fuse).

    The point is that I wouldn't rely on flex x-rays.

    Also, in my doctor's opinion, where people have multi-level degenerative disc disease, ACDF isn't the complete answer. I had C6-C7 fused in January and next month I am having a foraminotomy at C5-C6 and C6-C7. That was my surgeon's plan from Day 1 -- i.e., he didn't believe a fusion would solve all my problems.

    I have to say though that my fusion helped me tremendously -- took away the great majority of my neck pain, starting immediately upon awaking from surgery -- and the foraminotomy is really about the icing on the cake. So if you are still in tremendous pain 11 months out of your ACDF, I would start questioning how successful your surgery was.

    From what I have heard from my surgeon (and seen with the experiences of other people) is that a lot of surgeons use inappropriate hardware (it may not be broken but it may not be appropriate for the person) and I would always start worrying about hardware if you did not get a good result from ACDF. Doesn't have to be broken hardware to be bad hardware for you.
    C6-C7 ACDF - January 20, 2016
    Shoulder surgery - August 2, 2016
    Interlaminar laminotomy, mesial facetectomy and foraminotomy bilateral at C5-C6 and unilateral left at C6-C7 and bilateral C6-C7 facet fusion - December 7, 2016

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  • joowee40joowee40 Mississippi Posts: 308
    Thank you spines! no I haven't had a CT yet and I def want that or mri bc my xray before surgery didn't show squat either and the mri showed the herniations and myelogram and CT showed what was really going on and then surgery showed even worse than they knew. I just have this gut instinct like I did before that something was really wrong with all the crunching in my neck and I was right and it's that way again.

    That being said, u have no idea how much u just gave me to think about and that's good to know u also feel that way too and there are other things to do on top of that. I just know I'm not supposed to be hurting like this. btw I felt way much better after surgery for about 3-4 wks and have had sporadic groups of time that I felt almost normal with tolerable and understandable pain from living again but for the last couple of months is when it started crazy again and just is getting worse. 
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