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Old 07-01-2008, 05:08 PM   #1
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How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

I am post surgery 6 months and still not fused. My surgeon says I am fusing just not there yet and the burning is still driving me crazy! which now we have decided it is due to the fusion not being completed yet. He says it is showing signs of fusing, which I can even see that on xray, but shouldn't it be fused by now? can anyone tell me how long they had with theirs and what is the longest anyone went before they fused? or is there a possiblity I won't have a complete fusion? this is getting to be pretty scarey and I am getting sick of the burning pain that just won't go away, which again they say won't go away until my neck is fused.
Please any stories of how long and if there is going to be an end to this nightmare I would appreciate it. I just need to hear other people's stories who have been here and know that I am looking at getting better somewhere down the road.

 
Old 07-01-2008, 11:37 PM   #2
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

According to my neurosurgeon, the bones will continue to fuse for a year to year and a half. Are you wearing a bone growth stimulator? If so, I highly recommend it. You should be fused in about 1.5 yrs.

 
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:55 AM   #3
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

yes I have bone growth stimulator, but I hate wearing it. I am suppose to wear it 4 hours a day! I suppose I need to start making myself do that. The burning is getting horrible and I can't find anything that helps. My pain management doc increased the topamax to 300 mg a day. So going to try that for a while. I have had other friends who have had this done and they fused rather quickly, why is it taking mine so long? I wonder if he had used my bone if it would have fused any faster? and is there a chance he will have to redo this?

 
Old 07-02-2008, 07:45 PM   #4
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

I'm sorry to jump in with a question of my own, but what's a bone growth stimulator? My NS told me I'd be fused in 4 months, though he did add that it can take longer for some, said it could be 6 months or even to a year if someone has difficulties. He made it sound that fusion was most common in 4 months, but not a sign of anything bad if it took longer. He never said anything about a stimulator, but that sounds like a real help.
Meghan -11 & 1/2 wks post acdf & 6 weeks post lumb lam

 
Old 07-03-2008, 06:47 AM   #5
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

A couple of questions about your procedure:

1) Did you have donor bone, did they harvest some of your own bone (typically from your hip), or did they use some artificial means?

2) Did you get a plate and screws to stabilize the vertebrae while fusing occurs, or did you use a collar, or both?

Assuming you had donor bone and a plate (because that seems to be what most of us here have experienced) - fusing is a process that takes a year or so to complete. The donor bone is gradually replaced by new bone produced by the body, and the donor bone is simply a medium for that growth to take place. Eventually all of the donor bone gets replaced, and what is left is a single bone mass - the vertebrae on either side, and the 'new' bone where the disc used to be.

In my case, the new bone growth could be seen on x rays a month after the surgery, but only on the edges at first. MRIs taken 14 and 14 months later show new bone growth throughout.

Each case is different, so your mileage may vary! But assuming you also have the plate, there should be no movement of the vertebrae, and pain should be minimal at this point - so I wonder if you've got other things going on as well as the surgery recovery?

And, you MUST follow the post-op directions if you want to maximize your chances for a good outcome, so if you're supposed to be using the bone growth stimulator, you really should make every effort to do so!

Best wishes for a good outcome!
Bob

 
Old 07-14-2008, 07:34 AM   #6
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

Yes I had a donor bone and plate and screws. I also still have this weird burning pain when I do exercise. They think it because I have not fused yet.
If I try to do any exercise simple as walking it causes the burning in the back of my neck to start up. It is the strangest feeling and sometimes becomes unbearable if I walk or do exercise to much. They think it is coming from the fusion. Because they cannot find any other explanation for it. Had the same burning before the surgery as well. I just pray that as the fusion heals it will get better. My pain management doctor says I will continue to have this until I fuse. What do you think?

 
Old 07-15-2008, 09:12 AM   #7
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

My first one took 9 months to fully fuse, my second one failed and my third one, time will tell on that I guess but my Doctor is telling me that full fusion normally takes atleast 6 months (in rare cases) to over a year.

Were you braced after your surgery? I was after number one, not at all on number 2, and am again after number 3.

Steph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dredd384 View Post
I am post surgery 6 months and still not fused. My surgeon says I am fusing just not there yet and the burning is still driving me crazy! which now we have decided it is due to the fusion not being completed yet. He says it is showing signs of fusing, which I can even see that on xray, but shouldn't it be fused by now? can anyone tell me how long they had with theirs and what is the longest anyone went before they fused? or is there a possiblity I won't have a complete fusion? this is getting to be pretty scarey and I am getting sick of the burning pain that just won't go away, which again they say won't go away until my neck is fused.
Please any stories of how long and if there is going to be an end to this nightmare I would appreciate it. I just need to hear other people's stories who have been here and know that I am looking at getting better somewhere down the road.

Last edited by steph2fly; 07-15-2008 at 09:13 AM.

 
Old 07-15-2008, 09:22 AM   #8
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

I wore a neck brace for 6 weeks then nothing. I just can't stand this dang neck burning feeling when I try to get out and walk or do any exercise and no one can tell me this is going to go away or what is causing it. Did you have this feeling? it was there when I started having the neck problem, why I had the surgery and now it is still here. I am about to go nuts over this. Some days I just want not wake up! I can't live like this. I just want someone to tell me it is going to improve, the doctors don't seem to know what is really causeing it. They just want to hand you another pill and say wait. I just want to know what is the cause. Is it the fusion? is it because it hasn't fused? will it get better after the fusion? or is the nerve damage? or spinal cord damage? it has to be something that is set off by movement, because it gets extremely worse with movement, just simple walking causes the burning to be really bad. Doesn't hurt while walking but just wait a few hours later I am going nuts with it for days afterwards. Does anyone out there have or have had this problem and can you tell me if it gets better over time.
That is all I am looking for, is an answer.

 
Old 07-15-2008, 09:22 PM   #9
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

Wymom:

A bone growth stimulator is a battery operated unit worn around the area needing healing. So this can be used for surgery or even for non healing fractures.

For my cervical fusion I had a bone growth stimulator and it aided the fusion. Mine hung around my neck and I wore it for 4 hours per day.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:23 PM   #10
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

Darlene:

I had the bone growth stimulator and wore it 4 hours per day. At 6 months I was about 75% fused. My surgeon said a full fusion is usually at 12 months if I followed the rules of no NSAIDS (aspirin, aleve, iburpofen, etc) and wore the bone growth stimulator. At 12 months I was fused - though he said it even continues to strengthen up until the 18 month mark in some people.

But I didn't have the type of pain you are describing. Is this new since the surgery or has it been there all along? I woke up from ACDF and my searing nerve pain was gone.

Karin
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Last edited by SpineAZ; 07-15-2008 at 09:24 PM.

 
Old 07-16-2008, 06:42 AM   #11
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

This was the pain that caused me to have the surgery and it went away for about 3 weeks after surgery and as soon as I started getting up moving around after surgery it came back and it hasn't gone away since. It has everything to do with movement. So I don't know what caused it they don't know, but what ever it is, it has something to do with my neck because it come exactly from that area and it only gets worse with movement. He thinks it will get better when the fusion is solid. Several theories one is spinal cord damage? one is nerve damage? the other is fusion not complete?, I just want someone to tell which it is and if it will get better, I am about to go nuts! and I can't live like this forever! I am 44 years old and I just want my life back! I use to be a running and I can't even go out and do a simple walk around the block with out screaming in pain for several days now or do yoga without it causing me agony. I can't live like this! so if anyone can give me any hope I would greatly appreciate all the helpful advice I can get right now, because I am about at the end of my rope dealing with this. I can't get answers from my doctors and I just don't know where else to turn right now.
I have had ever test known to man and nothing shows up.

 
Old 07-17-2008, 11:37 PM   #12
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

Hi Dredd, I had a L4-5 dischotomy in 2001 and a donor bone, plate and screws in C5-6 and will eventually have to have C6-7 done. Although I still smoke (yes, I know it is bad for me and terrible for my discs), I have remarkably been growing bone fairly quickly but was told by my neurosurgeon that bone growth continues for at least 1 1/2 years. It sounds like that part is ok for you. The pain you talk about sounds like the nerve damage I sustained when my disc finally ruptured. The nerves were so inflammed that even after major repair it took 10 months for the pain to finally ease off to a now and again twinge. 7 years later, and I don't have that particular pain. Hang in there, our bodies heal at different rates, and it is important to do simple exercise at a slow pace and gradually build up. Your body is taking its time healing and you have to allow yourself that time AND follow instructions from your medical team. Best of luck to you!
Mim Gregg

 
Old 07-18-2008, 03:01 AM   #13
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Re: How long does it take to fuse on a cervical fusion?

this has been removed after seeing it could be read by anyone on the internet

Last edited by dredd384; 11-29-2008 at 11:08 AM.

 
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