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3 level cervical fusion one year ago now more surgery

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Unread 05-24-2010, 02:23 PM   #1
shecraw
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Default 3 level cervical fusion one year ago now more surgery

Hi every one! I'm Sheila and new to this forum. I had a three level cervical fusion last year (March 2009). I have had constant pain since. I went to my neuro yesterday to find out that I now have a herniation at C7-T1 and it's because of the fusion and those vertebraes taking the brunt of the fusion. It's going to be a long process for me. Anyone go through something like this?
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Unread 05-25-2010, 11:23 PM   #2
aussiemom
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Hi and welcome
I had 4 level cervical fusion done in 05. And they are fine. Everything else around, above, and below, has gone down the toilet. I haven't had a MRI done in several years, my PMs and PTs have told me what's going on just from my telling (complaining?)

I have a constant dull ache at C1&2 sometimes with a low grade headache. I have khyphosis, scoliosis, radicuopathy and osteophytes. A sharp burning pain at T1 and down a few. The NS who did the laminectomey botched it, and left me with permanent nerve damage in my right arm. Makes insect bites real interesting!

All of that came from the fusion, and the lami before it. And it probably has more to do with my former job than anything else, but there may be lumbar surgery in my future too.

Because of that job, I was extremely limited in pain meds. I do Botox injections, PRN.

Good Luck
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Unread 05-27-2010, 12:33 AM   #3
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Sheila,

I haven't had a fusion yet but was advised to have a cervical fusion. I've heard that the levels above and below tend to go bad because they're taking up the slack for the fused joints. The surgeon specifically mentioned this as a possiblity after having the fusion. In your case, it sounds like this is what happened to C7-T1.

Sorry that you're facing another potential surgery.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
Leesa
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I hate to say it, but this is what happens after spinal surgery, even if you DON'T have fusion. I've had 2 open surgeries, but no fusion and i had to have the 2nd surgery because of the first! Now i have 4 more herniations because of these surgeries, but I'm now inoperable due to osteoporosis, so i have to live with it.

you see, the doctors don't tell us this. why should they when they make big buck from the surgery? they don't tell us of the danger of further surgery. mine certainly didn't. he wanted the money. now i'm forced to suffer because of his greed!

it''s the same for all of us who go thru this. too bad we can't prove it, huh?
God bless. hugs, Lee
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Unread 06-30-2010, 11:38 PM   #5
TucsonGrandma
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Default New too--find this depressing

Hi all. I'm 53 and have been in very good health all my life--except for last 2 yrs....now I feel like I'm falling apart...first menopause hit, and passed, and then depression. Got on Cymbalta and Xanax. Started having sharp neck pains last fall and thought they were the "brain zaps" associated with Xanax. Then my right hand starting going numb. Went to primary care Doc who sent me for xrays and referred me to a neuro, who sent me for MRI and then referred me to surgeon...Need 3 fusions and he's saying a metal plate put in---???---Reading all your comments, now I'm really scared! Would taking calcium or glucosamin help? Excercising? Physical Therapy? I hear I will have to stay "still" for at least 6-8 wks to let spine fuse...Doesn't anyone have a good outcome/ success story??? It makes sense to me that most people that come on to post are because they have bad outcomes and need to vent---so those of us that maybe have good results need to make sure to come back on and post too.... Am I kidding myself? I consider myself a "young" grandma and have a very active 3 yr old grandson! HELP!
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Unread 07-01-2010, 07:46 AM   #6
Leesa
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hi ~ i hate to say this, but all too often after fusion OR just regular spinal surgery, the areas above and below the area operated on fail because they have to pick up the slack. For instance let's say C4-5 is operated on. Part of that disc is removed. They can't take all of it or it will be bone on bone. ok, so that area is now very weak, and the areas above and below must bear more of the weight to make up the difference of what C4-5 can't bear. Trouble is, after a time, those areas above and below are going to get 'tired' and they are going to fail too because they can't keep taking the extra weight. so they are going to herniate too. this keeps happening as long as the person keeps having .surgery.

doctors keep recommending surgery because patients keep saying yes. then they get their exhorbitant fees. wonderful, huh? if I were you, i'd get at least 2 more independent opinions, and see what they say. even if one of them says no surgery, i'd take his answer. then i'd go into pain management, and use a more conservative method for pain for as long as i could.

as long as your spinal cord is NOT being compromised, you're ok. if it is, then you. NEED surgery best of luck and god bless. hugs, lee
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recovering alcoholic, sober since 7-29-93;severe depression; 2 open spinal surgeries; severe sciatica since 1986; epidurals; trigger points; myelograms; Rhizotomy; Racz procedure; spinal cord stimulator implant (and later removal); morphine pump trial (didn't work);now inoperable; lumpectomy; radiation; breast cancer survivor; heart attack; fibromyalgia; on disability.



Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live..
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Unread 07-11-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
TucsonGrandma
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Default No Surgery-??? Read this book

I'm researching this Cervical Stenosis thing before I have my surgery to repair 3 levels and came across this book at the library: Mind Over Back Pain by John Sarno, MD. Read it!!! Very different thinking and I ten to agree with him on some points but if my spine IS compressed as my MRI shows, am I safe NOT having surgery????!!! (The book basically says the pain is from tension---fix your tension and your pain will get better) funny thing is, the last year and half have been extremely stressful for me and I am wondering what will happen if i don't have surgery........anyone know anyone that has stenosis but opted NOT to have surgery????
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Unread 07-13-2010, 06:45 AM   #8
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Hi Tucson Grandma ~ Alot depends on how bad the stenosis is. I would get at least 2 independent opinions from Neurosurgeons and see what they say. If your doc and the other 2 all agree that you need surgery, then perhaps you do. Stenosis CAN be serious and if 3 surgeons think it's necessary, then you might want to listen.

But i didn't think they would have to repair 3 levels to repair stenosis. I might be wrong, and I probably am, but I'd ask a Neurosurgeon what the right was is to fix stenosis. IF that is the biggest problem. Best of luck and God bless. Hugs, Lee
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recovering alcoholic, sober since 7-29-93;severe depression; 2 open spinal surgeries; severe sciatica since 1986; epidurals; trigger points; myelograms; Rhizotomy; Racz procedure; spinal cord stimulator implant (and later removal); morphine pump trial (didn't work);now inoperable; lumpectomy; radiation; breast cancer survivor; heart attack; fibromyalgia; on disability.



Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live..
.................................................. ...............Orestes
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Unread 07-13-2010, 09:58 PM   #9
Sheri_TOS
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TuscanGrandma -

I agree with Leesa. You should consult with several neurosurgeons. I have moderate bilateral cervical stenosis at C5/C6 and moderate central canal stenosis at T12 to L3. The NS said fusion is the only treatment for stenosis as it only progresses. I know fusion is in my future but I'm holding out until conservative modalties don't offer symptom relief. One concern with stenosis is the bone is growing impinging on the nerve(s) and/or the spinal canal so stenosis can be quite serious.

A friend of mine had a two level cervical fusion for severe stenosis (literally no space left for the nerves) and she is doing great (10 months post-op). She didn't work or drive for about 7 years before they discovered the neck problem. She is actually considering returning to work and has started driving.

Good luck!
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Unread 07-14-2010, 07:38 AM   #10
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Tucson Grandma, I agree with the others that you might want to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion. I never did because I trusted my Neurosurgeon and knew his credentials. Anyway, I am also 53 and have had two cervical fusions two years apart. Yes, I sometimes have residual pain. But what you need to understand is the goal is not to be rid of a pain. The goal is to STABILIZE your spine. A good surgeon will tell you that pain relief is an added benefit. I went back to my own Neurosurgeon many times before my first surgery as I kept having questions. In any case, if you are having numbness, that is a sure fire sign that a nerve and/or your spinal cord is being compressed. And yes, you can have stenosis at several levels. Chances are you have several joints that are arthritic. Mind over matter will not help this nor will supplements. You could try injections and even PT or traction. But be careful! Traction actually made me worse. Then again, I am not so sure an injection or several would even help at this point considering the numbness. I should have clarified also. I went through 3 years of conservative treatment until it couldn't be helped anymore. So, it is not necessarily true that the docs are just out for money. And it is not necessarily true that another level will herniate or blow out simply because you have had other fusions. It IS true that the levels above and below take on the load. I have one disc sandwiched between my two fusions but there is no sign of it herniating or even breaking down. Again, the goal is STABILITY and to stop any neurological deficits from progressing. You don't want to lose the use of your arms as an example. Last but not least and as my pain management doctor always says, the cervical spine is a far cry from the lumbar and a totally different ballgame. I think I would heed your NS's advice or get other opinions. But there is something definitely going on that needs to be addressed. And you will lead a different lifestyle. Once you have this done there is no going back. For myself, I know what activities can trigger some pain and I try to be careful about what I do. Oh, and you will need at least 6 months to a year before it fully fuses. Since he wants to do several levels I would ask about a bone growth stimulator. They work!! Good luck!
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