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Old 03-01-2010, 09:12 PM   #1
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Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

I just had an Anterior Cervical Fusion of my C4 and C5 two weeks ago. I never had any resonating pain, but I did have numbness in my fingertips. The numbness was gone as soon as I woke up from my surgery.

What I'd like to know is how soon before I should start to notice significant pain relief in my neck?

 
Old 03-04-2010, 05:25 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

I had the same in 2003, if I remember correctly, (ha can you say gabapentin, LOL)(I now am back as I have new problems) I was pretty sore for the first couple of weeks. I posted progress reports a few times back then. do a search for post by Ionman, if you would like to see what I wrote back then.

Good luck

Keep the fudgecules handy for when you first wake up and use a scarf to help tilt your head forward or to get up from reclining.

Cheers
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Apr 03 C5 corpectomy C4-C6 strut graft with titanium
May 03 Heart Attack, Balloon Angioplasty & Stent implanted
Apr 2010 sched for ACDF and laminectomy & stabilize C3 (maybe C2) to C7

Last edited by IonMan; 03-04-2010 at 05:25 PM.

 
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:12 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

I have had fusion surgery twice. About a month after surgery I was feeling good. My problem is that the feeling only lasted a month before the symptoms came back. I am now looking at a possible 3rd surgery in 18 months for the same problem.
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ACDF C6-7 3/31/2009. Disc herniations and cord impingement at C5-6.

 
Old 03-06-2010, 06:33 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

I wore a collar for 6 weeks following ACDF. When that was removed I had some general stiffness and achiness in my neck for quite a few weeks. Once you are fused your muscles and ligaments have to work differently as now there is an area of the spine that is fused and no longer moving.

Even after 6 months post op I would still occasionally get an achy feeling in the neck at maybe a pain level of 1-2.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 03-11-2010, 11:01 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Hi,
ACDF 5-6-7 (5/08)

Like SpineAZ, I wore the collar for 6 wks. Was stiff/weak at first, not a lot of pain, other than moving from reclining to upright. just strain.
After 4 wks (3x per) of PT, mobility was back about 80% and mostly pain free. Thankfully , after a good 6 mnths. I was completely pain free and mobilty was great.

Good Luck!

 
Old 03-12-2010, 05:52 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Neckpainforever- you wrote: During the year before my surgery, I went through Spinal Decompression, a Rhizotomy, and two Steroid Injections that didn't help at all. As I said in my original post, I never had any resenating pain down my arm, which seemed to puzzle every doctor I saw. The closest thing to that I experienced was numbness in my finger tips. Because I also have MS, it was impossible to tell whether the numbness was from my neck or my MS.

I too, have MS and also have significant pain in my fingertips. This was my onset symtom, which took me to the doc, who sent me for a CT scan to rule out a pinched nerve, who was positive it was Carpal Tunnel and eventually a MRI was ordered (have an EMG ruled out carpal) and MS was seen. I had over 50 lesions on my brain. To this day, my doc says that its all MS pain; however I have recently learned that I have 3 herniated discs, C3-C4-C5. Ive had 2 steroid injections which helped take the edge off, but within 3 months was in screaming pain again....now, they are talking about spinal injections under flouroscopy. I cant take Oxy or any other narcotic as Im in sales and drive for a living and get too sleepy on those drugs. I do take Aleve like candy. Last week I was in a fender bender, and rear ended- now my neck is screaming again, even though the ER doc said there was no change from my last MRI, only 5 weeks ago.

Wondering if fusion is going to be in my future- and who to really talk to about this. The Ortho back guy says see a neurosurgeon, the neurosurgeon wants to operate NOW and the Neurologist (MS Specialist) says its all MS pain and it wont make a difference if I have the surgery.....any thoughts??
Thanks in advance.
Nikki
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:53 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Not all orthopedic doctors are Orthopedic Spine Surgeons. But, even if the one you were seeing was, I'd say with MS as a co-diagnosis your best bet is a Neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery (not all do, some prefer to concentrate on brain or other types of neurosurgery). My spinal surgeries have all been done by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon but that's not the right choice for everyone.

What reasoning has the Neurosurgeon given for surgery and exactly what type is of surgery is being recommended?

As you've seen from others MS can co-exist with spine problems (just as it could co-exist, for example, with diabetes and subsequently diabetic neuropathy in which nerve pain occurs often in the feet). It's too bad that the MS doctor is ignoring the possibility that at least some of the symptoms you have may be due to a co-existing condition and surgery, if that's the answer, may give you some relief. Especially if you have test results showing herniated discs. The levels you indicate as herniated could be associated with symptoms in the arms, hands and fingers. Look up a spinal dermatome chart which will display each nerve and the area of the body in which symptoms, with damage at that level, are often felt in.

Let us know if there's more we can answer for you.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 03-13-2010, 12:33 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSNik View Post
Neckpainforever- you wrote: During the year before my surgery, I went through Spinal Decompression, a Rhizotomy, and two Steroid Injections that didn't help at all. As I said in my original post, I never had any resenating pain down my arm, which seemed to puzzle every doctor I saw. The closest thing to that I experienced was numbness in my finger tips. Because I also have MS, it was impossible to tell whether the numbness was from my neck or my MS.

I too, have MS and also have significant pain in my fingertips. This was my onset symptom, which took me to the doc, who sent me for a CT scan to rule out a pinched nerve, who was positive it was Carpal Tunnel and eventually a MRI was ordered (have an EMG ruled out carpal) and MS was seen. I had over 50 lesions on my brain. To this day, my doc says that its all MS pain; however I have recently learned that I have 3 herniated discs, C3-C4-C5. Ive had 2 steroid injections which helped take the edge off, but within 3 months was in screaming pain again....now, they are talking about spinal injections under flouroscopy. I cant take Oxy or any other narcotic as I'm in sales and drive for a living and get too sleepy on those drugs. I do take Aleve like candy. Last week I was in a fender bender, and rear ended- now my neck is screaming again, even though the ER doc said there was no change from my last MRI, only 5 weeks ago.

Wondering if fusion is going to be in my future- and who to really talk to about this. The Ortho back guy says see a neurosurgeon, the neurosurgeon wants to operate NOW and the Neurologist (MS Specialist) says its all MS pain and it wont make a difference if I have the surgery.....any thoughts??
Thanks in advance.
Nikki
Hi Nikki,

50 lesions on your brain??? My God, that's a lot. Bless you!!!

Those herniated discs need to be taken care of regardless of whether you have MS or not! These are two completely separate issues. I did not consult my Neurologist about having my Cervical Fusion, just like I don't consult with my spine surgeon about having MS. If a reputable Neurosurgeon thinks you ought to have surgery to take care of these discs, I say do it without delay.

When you say "MS pain," do you mean numbness? My MS has never caused me pain, just extreme discomfort from flare-ups of numbness throughout my body. My collapsed disc caused me PAIN.

But like I said, don't let your Neurologist tell you not to have surgery on herniated discs.

 
Old 03-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Nobody seems to mention physical therapy and exercise If you don't do this daily you are simply prolonging your total recovery, which should be 4-6 months. While standing or sitting, also you should maintain good posture with your chin tucked and your neck as vertical as possible. Otherwise you are in danger of fusing with your head bowed and you do not want that.

 
Old 03-15-2010, 02:19 PM   #10
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Not all surgeons recommend physical therapy post-op. I had an ACDF, wore my collar for 6 weeks and then did fine. No PT necessary. My surgeon says he wanted me to do things that were comfortable and felt PT might push me too far. If I failed to reach certain points of recovery he may have later suggested PT.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 03-15-2010, 05:26 PM   #11
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Angry Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

hay my name is jim aka knwlt28 i have had more than one surgery first time i broke my neck in 5 places spent 6 mos in a halo then 6to8 weeks in phila collar i was fussed from c2 to c3 toc4 toc5 was doin great till 10 years later collapse refussion anterial this time first was illiac i am now fussed from c2 to c6 c7 and c6 are the only two cerv not fussed yet no doctor will touch me know since my docs from jeff retired cottler and northrop so now i suffer with pain every day even with meds that just make me sleepy meds are 2 40mg ox and 2 percs every 4to6 hours for breakthrough then 2 more 40 mg ox for night with 10 mg vallium so remember pain will get worse with age

 
Old 03-16-2010, 08:51 AM   #12
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Knwlt28,
You mentioned Jeff. Would that be in Philly? If so, found a great nuerosurgeon at Penn. Paul Marcotte. He did my acdf, my wife's lumbar (at least we understand each others pain) and now my lumbar. Very pleased. You may want to check him out.

Sorry to jump on this thread with that.
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:35 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Hi everyone, Philfan, Im not far from Philly, Id like to know who this doctor is and if he is Ortho or Neuro-
everyone else, I apologize. I mentioned I have MS and was out of commission for the past week and just now am getting onto the site. Neckpain, yes, my MS pain is bad...with extreme pain in my legs and hands/ fingers- thats why Im now wondering how much of the fingers and hands could be cervical related. No one is recommending any type of surgery! Im the one inquiring, since I dont know where to start. All I know is the MRI shows 3 herniated discs in C3-C4-C5. And, yes, Im in pain 24-7 from my neck to my shoulders....
Stil trying to learn and right now, having extreme mind fog, where nothing is sticking!
Thanks..
Nikki
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:23 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Nikki, I had fusion of C3/4/5 and later fusion of L4/5. Yes I had pain in both arms to my fingertips, plus shaky fingers. Also there was pain below the neck on both sides of the spine. After fusion I wore an electronic magnetic wave collar and the fusion was complete after only 4 months. As for the pain, it was gone immediately after surgery. Recovering from the cutting itself was not all that bad. The same with the leg and hip pain from L4/5, not there when I awoke. My neurosurgeon was Dr. Warren of Auburn, Alabama. He is one of the best, and was an Air Force surgeon during both the Iraq wars.

Last edited by zhmmy; 03-21-2010 at 11:24 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 03-22-2010, 09:42 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone who has had Neck Fusion

Nikki,
Doc. is a Nuerosurgeon. works out of Pa. Hosp. and UofP Hosp.
office is at Pa. Hosp. Paul Marcotte. Did my Cerv fusion just about 2 yrs. ago. Best thing I could have done. Arms, hands and Neck are great. Just went for my post op lumbar visit on fri. All looks good. feels much better, just recovery pain now.
good luck
mike
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