I am new to this forum, so if these topics have recently been addressed I apologize.
I had an ACDF in C5-6-7 with donor bone and plating in February 2001. Things have been going great since then. Then two weeks ago, I was rear-ended in a car accident. All the old pains returned. X-rays the next day revealed that the two screws in C5 and one of the screws in C7 broke. There is also the possibility of a crack in the C6-7 fusion. MRI's and neurosurgeon appointments have been scheduled.
My family doctor says that there is no way to link the new problems to the car accident. Cervical xrays from December 2002 show everything in place and healing fine. Does anyone have any advice in dealing with auto insurance damages?
Family doc also says that he thinks we can manage the pain and leave the broken hardware in my neck. First, the pain has been getting progressively worse over the last two weeks. Second, the thought of keeping the broken hardware in my neck seems insane! Has anyone else had any screws break?
The soonest that any neurosurgeon will see me is late August or early September. (The one who performed my surgery has moved out of state.)
Also - got a call from family doc. Had a radiologist look at the xrays. There is definitely a crack in the C6-7 bone graft. Whee! The pain gets worse every day, yet still no one will see me for two months. Thank goodness for Vicodin and Skelaxin.
Had the MRI on July 12th. Apparently the broken screws did not show up on the MRI. They show up clearly on the x-rays. Sure seems odd to me. Apparently I have had 'arthritic degeneration' of surrounding disks since the last MRI of late 2002, but nothing else shows up.
I was able to get my neurosurgeon appointment moved up to July 20th though. That makes me feel better.
I certainly would seek the opinion of another neurosurgeon. This sounds like something that should be taken care of as soon as possible. As for the doctor saying this couldn't be related to the accident - that seems pretty much like an insurance company not wanting to pay off. Good luck!
Update. I had the neurosurgeon appointment on July 20th. He said that there is nothing he can do for the broken screws and that the pain will eventually go away. Basically - 'buck up and take it like a man'. Time for a second opinion.