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cervical fusion w/rods & pins 9/06---something's not right
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cervical fusion w/rods & pins 9/06---something's not right

I have neck & back pain with intermittent numbness in hands & feet & muscle spasms. My quality of life s___ks! Can't even play my guitar for stress relief cause my hands do whatever they feel like!!!  Can't see the original surgeon cause I no longer have insurance, only Medicaid, and that's a nightmare. One doctor suggested I see a Rehab Medicine doc but physical therapy has been no help so far.   Any reason to pursue that idea?  The original surgeon said I should be able to return to work in 3-6 mths and it's been 2 years now.  PLEASE, I can use all the help I can get.  Anyone have any ideas?


This discussion is related to cervical fusion.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

How are you?
One of the complications of cervical fusion is graft extrusion especially if the graft is used with instrumentation. This can cause severe pain in the neck region and if there is nerve compression, there can be pain and numbness in hands and feet.
If this occurs another surgery is usually required.
Other possibility is nerve injury.
It is very difficult to tell without a clinical exam as what is the exact cause of your symptoms. You must see your neurologist as early as possible.

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Avatar_m_tn
Tx for ur comments.  I saw another neurosurgeon last week & he said there's no obvious reason to remove the hardware & that in the absence of such he would not even consider it.  He suggested I  consider receiving cervical injections. Basically, it seems to me like no one wants to incur the risk of such significant surgery, like a case of CYA , what do you think? What do you know about the shots? Risky? Painful? Must I have them for the rest of my life? How likely are they to help me?  Any information you can offer would be appreciated, thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow I didnt know there was such a forum!
I too had a cervical fusion c-4 c-7 1 yr ago.Yesterday i went to my neuro doc they took x-rays and he said wow the graft is not working and the screws are moving around in the mushy bone graft and thats why your having symptoms still.This time he says, we will go through the back of your neck and use a rod and more pins!!!!!!!!!! He said this time in order for me to get relief i will have to loose all mobility in my neck!!!!!!!!!
wow!!!!!!!!!!! stay tuned
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Avatar_n_tn
In November of 2006, I had a four level anterior approach cervical fusion with instrumentation as a result of bulging or herniated discs compressing my spinal cord. Oddly, I had very little pain, but a lot of disorientation and, silly as it sounds, numbness and tingling in my HEAD. The neurologist wasn't even sure the symptoms would go away, but said if I fell or was in a car accident, I'd be a quadriplegic, so no question on the surgery options.

We actually discovered the neck problems because I was seeing a(nother) neurologist (about the fourth or fifth) for chronic daily headaches. She ordered a head and neck MRI to RULE OUT neck trouble. Hah.

So I had the surgery; I sat on my ever growing butt for two months and had to wear the hard collar for three months. No one tells you that the worst part is that they move your esophagus to Saturn and it takes months for it to move back, though that may be a function of the fact that he was in there for four and a half hours.

PT, blah blah, and my neck was fine, though it didn't help and actually made the headaches worse (so the head numbness did go away, dammit). So the first neuro sent me to a pain doctor, who did radiographic thermocoagulation on the facets as a headache treatment. No stunning improvement. He left town, and I was referred to another pain specialist, who wanted to combine PT with Botox in my neck muscles. First visit to PT, she says "If the pain doctor gives you Botox in every muscle you need it in, you won't be able to hold your head up.

Botox last Monday, no real change.

Here's the problem. About three or four weeks PRIOR to the PT and the Botox, I started having tingling and numbness in my hands and arms (bilaterally) and pain to go with. My first thought: I've ruptured C2-C3 or C7-T1, or ..... wait for it...... I've got a screw loose. And I truly thought that was the worst thing that could happen and I'd have to go back to surgery. Little did I know.

Yesterday, one of my clients came by whom I hadn't seen in a while who has had multiple lumbar fusions and a single cervical fusion. About the same time my symptoms started, so did his. So he had an x-ray. The VERTEBRA above and below his fusion are CRACKED from where the screw ends all the way to the posterior side of the bones.

He has no idea how they're going to fix it, and sorry as I am for him, now I'm scared to death for ME, too! I can't get on the MRI schedule til 3 Oct owing to the fact that I have to have general anesthesia to go in there. Exceptionally bad first experience.

Does anyone have any experience with recurring symptoms after this long, and what did it turn out to be?
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