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Old 05-29-2004, 05:39 PM   #1
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fkissam HB User
Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

I am now 1 yr post-op ACD with titanium fusion C456 and corpectomy. In general, I am doing quite well.

I always wory about that titanium plate in my neck. Can somebody explain the long-term things I should be careful about?

In the average person, am I corect that the titanium plate solidly fuses with my bones in about 1 yr. Therefore, if the fusion is solid, is there litle danger of upsetting things? I do know it exerts some pessure above and below the fusion, though.

Is that tiatnium plate subject to corrosion from being in a swimming pool for 1 hr per day given that the skin is the most absorbable organ of the body?

For instance, could I hang upside like on gravityguieder boots without upsetting the neck fusion?

Any general insights would be very helpful for us all who bear this titanium plate for life

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Old 05-31-2004, 06:37 AM   #2
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

Don't worry about effects of the titanium in your body. There are none. Titanium does not react in any way so there will be no corrosion, rusting or any other type of reaction. Also, it isn't the plate that fuses with the bones. The bones fuse to themselves, the plate is to stabilize them and hold them in position while they fuse.

Old 05-31-2004, 04:15 PM   #3
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

I noticed that you had the ACDF surgery about a year ago. The fact that you said you are doing well is encouraging to me, since I may have to undergo the same surgery soon. How long did you try conservative treatment before you had the surgery? How is your range of motion? Are there some things that you can't do now because of the surgery? How long was your recovery? Sorry for all the questions, I am just anxious about this and I would love to hear from someone that has actually been through it? Last but not least, did all your numbness/tingling and weakness go away after the surgery? That is my biggest concern.

Thanks So Much,

Old 05-31-2004, 04:57 PM   #4
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

I had a C5-C6 and C6-C7 fusion last July. I was in excruciating pain from the herniation of those discs and that was relieved after the surgery. I still had some degree of numbness in my left arm but it had improved considerably since the surgery. I went back to work in four weeks after the surgery but I work at a desk (engineer) so it isn't physically strenuous.

Several weeks ago I woke up with a very sore neck. I had just returned from a business trip to Colorado. A couple weeks after this my arm became more and more numb with a loss of strength and coordination in it. I called to set up an MRI and here is a quote from that exam.

Opinion: Large central disc protrusion with central canal stenosis. as well as left lateral recess and nueral foraminal stenosis at C4-C5. This has worsened from the prior examination of 6/03.

There was no residual spinal stenosos from the previous fusion. I go back in about 10 days for another fusion of 4-5.

I'll try to answer some of your questions. The previous herniation was so severe that there was no "conservative" treatment. My orthopedic surgeon who has fixed several broken bones for me (I've led a rough life in my hobbies) took a look at my MRI from last year and said immediately "You will require surgery to fix this one---I'll get you the best". The NS that he referred me to had already done a lower laminectomy on me so I knew his name when he told me. When the NS saw the films he said "You have to have this fixed as soon as possible". This was a doc that had put me off for a year for the much less complicated laminectomy. He is not knife happy---has all the work he can do.

My recovery was a few weeks. This NS is excellant and I was back doing whatever I wanted in about 4 weeks. I can't say that I have any limitations on movement or anything else that I want to do. Maybe I can't look up as far as I used to or turn as quickly. It's not much different. The numbness is different for everybody I think. I couldn't use my arm at all for a week or two but it improved quickly.

We knew I had three bad discs going in last year but I suppose the doc took what he felt was the best approach when he fixed two. Like the report said---it has worsened since last year but I'm confident that this surgery will help me out. Can't use my arm much now so it's bound to help.

Old 06-01-2004, 12:47 PM   #5
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

Titanium is the most harmless metal that can be put in your body. I have had a titanium him for a long time now as well as a partial knee and now the neck.
Years ago doctors used to use surgical steel, it is found that many people are allergic to nickle which is a primary compound in surgical steel and began opting to use titanium instead. There is also a higher risk of rejection with surgical steel there is not with titanium and add to it how light weight it is.

When I was 9 years old I underwent a very experimental hip displaysia operation at which point they reconstructed my hip with SS, needless to say some two years later my body completely rejected it and I ended up with a very severe infection and was very close to death. Since then (some 30 years ago) I've had titanium.

BTW for those who are not aware, if you have metal in your body and have dental work done, even a cleaning, please advise your dentist that you have a plate or other metals. Generally, but not always, doctors will premedicate you with antibiotics prior to a proceedure. The reason is any infection you may get as a result or bacteria will immediately go to the area of metal and then through the bloodstream and it can be fatal. A fella I had worked with some years ago had an uncle die from an absessed (sp) tooth, he had an artificial hip, the infection spread to his hip then to his bloodstream, he died some days later. My situation 30 years ago was very similiar when my body rejected the metal thus infecting the blood. I was lucky as I was told by my parents just a few day's longer and I would have probably passed away as well.

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Old 06-01-2004, 01:27 PM   #6
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

Kissa, Thank you for that important info about dental visits with a titanium plate.

You mention that titanium is pretty harmless but that sounded pretty scary. I do get infections and I sure hope that this titanium plate doesn't pose a great health risk.

I also use some small electrical currents like TENS machines around the neck and am I correct that titanium has a rating of 5% conductivity? If so, might that electrical current be dangerous?

I have heard of people that get a titanium plate in the neck and then develop a tumor right at that site. How do I avoid this ... or is it uncommon?

Any resources on this subject will allay my fears.

Thank you again.

Old 06-01-2004, 05:11 PM   #7
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

The "information" that you posted about bacterial infection is neither accurate nor factual. If that was the case, people would be dropping like flies from every cut or scratch they experience.

Old 06-01-2004, 09:05 PM   #8
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Re: Titanium Plate fusion : Long term concerns

It is factual (or maybe the ADA made it up.)
Cuts, scrapes, scratches are not in the same category, they are not area's that cause excessive bleeding unless you have one big gaping wound in which case you'd probably be given a dose of antibiotics do prevent infection in the wound site.

Pre Medding it has been done for years with individuals who not only have heart conditions but also have artificial joints and various metal in their body. It may depend on the amount of metal but it is done. Individuals are at most risk in the first 2 years.

The standard amount is 4 amoxicillian one hour before and 1 6 hours after proceedure. There are also other various medications that can be used in a like manner.

Every time I personally go under any type of medical proceedure every doctor I have seen has also pre-medicated me or has medicated me during the proceedure.

Since we are not supposed to post links I can tell you that I found this information on a dental web site:

To Prevent Joint Infections

The oral cavity is a portal of entry as well as the site of disease for microbial infections that affect general health.
Streptococcus viridian is the main infective agent that can enter the bloodstream from areas with considerable bleeding such as the oral cavity, urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract. This bacteria may lodge on the heart valves, inflame the myocardium and cause ulcerations on the inner walls of the an artery. Patients with artificial joints, prosthesis or pervious severe infections are at a higher risk. These risks are from an implied association between dental treatments and joint infections.
Premedication is recommended for antibiotic prophylaxis for any dental procedure likely to cause bleeding.
The elderly are at higher risk.
Poor oral hygiene and periodontal (gum disease) or periapical infections increase your risk for joint infections.

The American Dental Association recommends antibacterial prophylaxis for at-risk individuals with any dental procedure that may cause bleeding such as the following procedures:

Tooth extractions
Periodontal surgery
Scaling and root planing
Recall maintenance
Dental implant placement
Replantation of avulsed teeth
Subgingival placement of antibiotic fiber or strips
Initial placement of orthodontic bands (not brackets)
Intraligamentary local anesthetic injections
Cleaning of teeth or implants where bleeding is anticipated
Endodontic surgery
Instrumentation beyond the apex

Last edited by Kissa; 06-01-2004 at 09:11 PM.

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