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complications after c4-5 fusion
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complications after c4-5 fusion

Last April, 08, my c4-5 ruptured into my spinal cord and had emergency surgery (disectomy).  My symtoms (symptoms) were strange feelings in shoulders, arms, and hands, and loss of arm and hand control.  Immediately after surgery, my right leg,butt area, and right foot has a cold,burning and tingling sensation.  I had 9 weeks of OT for fine motor control of hands, and 9 weeks of PT for walking control (right leg would swing out to the right)  couldn't walk a straight line.  It is now Dec. 26, 08, and I still have the right leg , butt, and foot problem.  The heel of my right foot also feels like it has a severe stone bruise.  I have had additional MRIs of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar, a nerve conduction test (4 hour test), a CT scan of stomach, pelvic area, steroid injections into the spine.  Nothing, according to the doctors, are yeilding results or new diagnosis.  I did not have any of these symptoms before the surgery.  Recently, I went to my gyn and through a bladder test, he says I am unable to empty my bladder completely because I am using my stomach muscles instead of the nerve that is suppose to control this function.  Please help.  What do I do now?  What do you thing is wrong with me.  I just turned 59 yrs. old yesterday.  
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If those new right-sided symptoms truly started immediately after the surgery, it appears that you had intra-operative damage to the cord at the cervical level.  Understand that all of the sensations and muscle control of the body pass through the cervical spinal cord;  pressure on the cord at the neck can cause symptoms in the lower part of the body.  Another possibility is that the damage causing the lower-body symptoms occurred from the disc herniation, and the symptoms were not noticed preop because of the other symptoms somehow covering them up.

During a cervical fusion, a piece of bone from a cadaver or from your hip is usually used to fill the space where the disc used to be;  screws and plates are also often used to hold things in place until healing occurs.  I would be most interested in imaging studies of the cervical spine, to see if any of the hardware or bone shifted and are putting pressure on the cord.  It may be difficult or impossible to get a good look at the neck, though, if you have hardware in place-- metal interferes with most imaging studies.

The non-emptying bladder could also be related to spinal compression occurring in the neck.

I think the best course would be to see a different neurosurgeon-- someone with a good reputation who is not in the same group or even the same hospital as your first surgeon-- and get a second opinion, if you haven't already.  If you haven't had films of the neck I would wonder why not, since that is the most likely source of your problem, at least as described here.

Nerves unfortunately take a long time to heal;  I am concerned that in your case things seem to be worsening-- although it may be that the injury occurred months ago and was only noticed now.

JJ
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