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Old 09-03-2010, 06:20 PM   #1
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C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

Hi everyone! I am new to the forum and searching for advice from anyone who has undergone C7-T1 surgery. I am 24 years old and suffered a traumatic head/neck/jaw injury in 2004 after a skateboarding accident in which I fell from approximately 9 ft. directly onto my head/neck. Following the accident, I was rushed to the emergency room where I underwent teeth/mouth/jaw surgery. (Also, T6, T7, and T8 were fractured at this time and have since fused themselves together - doctor's took MRI of the Cervical Spine only in the E.R. and did not take MRI of Thoracic Spine at this time, thus failing to notice the trauma to the Thoracic Spine.)

Since the accident, I have had excruciating pain throughout the left side of my upper-back, left shoulder, left collar-bone and chest area, and left-side of neck, as well as tingling in my pinky fingers on both hands. In addition, terrible "migraine" headaches occur at least 3 times a week, with pain stemming from the left-side of my neck and upper-back. The spine specialist from whom I am currently seeking medical advice has confirmed (from X-Rays, MRI's, Discograms) that surgery at C7-T1 will correct the issues mentioned above; he strongly suggests Artificial Disc Replacement as opposed to traditional fusion of the vertebrae. I don't know anyone who has had this operation, and would love to hear first-hand experiences and advice regarding both methods of surgery.

I am grateful for any advice from those of you who have either had C7-T1 surgery or are considering the operation. Thanks for the help!

 
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:16 PM   #2
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

Just so happens we have someone here who just had this done. He is "DwayneinNJ". I'll see if I can message him for you. He was just done in June and slowly recovering.

Jenny

 
Old 09-03-2010, 07:21 PM   #3
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

Sent him a message. And he's changed his user name to InNJ.

Hope that helps.

Jenny

 
Old 09-04-2010, 02:57 AM   #4
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

BabyBear sounds like you have been through a lot and hope you find relief. I had ADR C6-7 on June 16th and aside from some pain from other issues in my neck I feel ADR was with out question the right choice. I would recommend disc replacement to anyone. Of course it all depends on your surgeon etc. I would find out how many he has done etc. I really shopped around to find the right surgeon. I had double fusion scheduled and cancelled a few days before with another because I had some doubts about him. I then found a surgeon who recommended one ADR vs a double fusion. If you have any questions let me know.

 
Old 09-04-2010, 10:12 AM   #5
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

Thank you Jenny and InNJ. I have done a fair amount of searching for the right surgeon and am confident that I have found the best in the area. ADR has sounded like the best option since the beginning. InNJ, how has your recovery been? Any major/minor complications after surgery? Have you noticed relief from your pain? I am ready for my pain to go away completely. I have lived with this for far too long. I used to be very active and now it is difficult for me to do a load of laundry or wash the dishes without triggering the pain that puts me flat on my back for the rest of the day. If you don't mind me asking, was your pain associated with an accident or trauma? What were your symptoms and where was your pain that caused you to pursue the operation? Hope I haven't asked too many questions. Just curious and you're the only reply I've had! Thank you so much for your help!!

 
Old 09-04-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

You can ask away-that is ok with me and happy to help you. I was in a car accident years ago that progressed. What brought me to surgery was that I was having really bad left sided neck-shoulder pain along with numbness and tingling in my arms, hands and fingers. At times I dropped things but the worst part was when I worked (I'm a truck driver) the pain in my neck-shoulder and back got unreal even with chiro, meds etc. I just couldn't stand it anymore.

My recovery: Left the hospital the same day with a drain tube in the incision which was taken out a few days later. The worst part of it all was the post op because they make you prove you are ready to leave. Later I had some pain in the middle of my back which was more pronounced when getting up from sitting for a few weeks but that was about it with the pain from surgery. I was in an adjustable neck brace for 6 weeks. After about 3 weeks I took it off to sleep at night which I felt helped the mid back pain. I do have some other issues in my neck that are causing pain and face numbness but not from surgery it seems at this point.

Relief: I have noticed relief in my arms, hands and the extreme pain in my back. At times when my other symptoms are better it almost feels as though I didn't have surgery except for the tightness in moving my neck left to right.
One thing the surgeon told me is that you may not get complete relief but if so it takes time. If you have any more questions let me know.

Last edited by InNJ; 09-04-2010 at 01:17 PM.

 
Old 09-04-2010, 03:53 PM   #7
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

BabyBear I had ACDF C7-T1 in June 2008 due to a fall. I was dealing with balance problems from spinal stenosis on other areas, mostly lumbar when I fell backward and hit the base of my neck on the bottom of a granite memorial stone that was out in front of an office building we own. The stone was a display for a business that rented space from us. When I fell, I didn't realize how injured I was, and I very unwisely did not go for an xray. I didn't have pain from this injury, but did begin to have slow deterioration of nerve function, until 9 months later, finally realized that there was something seriously wrong, and had the cervical MRI to show that my vertebrae was dislocated and pressing on my spinal cord. The neurosurgeon planned on doing both an anterior and posterior procedure to stabilize this, but he was able to do it all from the front, which made my recovery much better. Due to the length of time I had compression, I still have quite a bit of paresthesia and balance is not normal yet, but has improved and my hands have regained strength and function, though still have tingling and numbness, especially if I have my arms in a certain postition. I had a donor bone graft and a titanium plate. The surgery has stopped the downward spiral of loss of nerve function though and I believe that some healing has occurred.
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ACDF C7-T1 bone graft and titanium plate 2008

 
Old 09-04-2010, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

InNJ, Thank you for sharing your experience with me. It's nice to hear stories from others who have experienced similar pain and have been brave enough to seek help and fix the problem. I'd give anything to get rid of my pain. I appreciate all of your help! I am feeling more confident everyday about the operation. Trying to schedule for the end of September. Please keep me updated on your post-op status...major or minor. I am interested in any details you are willing to share. You've been a tremendous help! Thanks a million!!

 
Old 09-04-2010, 08:54 PM   #9
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

minstrel2, I have a question about ADR. Why did you choose the artificial disc over fusion at the C7-T1 level? Was it due to the recovery time or simply a better fix for your situation? I would love to go with ADR but still discussing with insurance regarding coverage. I wouldn't mind paying out of pocket if I was certain it was the best choice...but definitely leaning in that direction. I am very interested in post-op stories (major/minor details) that could help me make an educated decision. I appreciate your help! Keep me posted on your status. I'm interested in even the smallest details! Thanks again!

 
Old 09-05-2010, 04:13 AM   #10
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

Babybear, I did have fusion. Anterior diskectomy with fusion and fixation. That really was my only option. It has worked very well, and since that area of the spine really doesn't move that much, the levels above and below shouldn't be affected much according to my surgeon. Hoping for success for you.
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ACDF C7-T1 bone graft and titanium plate 2008

 
Old 02-25-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by InNJ View Post
BabyBear sounds like you have been through a lot and hope you find relief. I had ADR C6-7 on June 16th and aside from some pain from other issues in my neck I feel ADR was with out question the right choice. I would recommend disc replacement to anyone. Of course it all depends on your surgeon etc. I would find out how many he has done etc. I really shopped around to find the right surgeon. I had double fusion scheduled and cancelled a few days before with another because I had some doubts about him. I then found a surgeon who recommended one ADR vs a double fusion. If you have any questions let me know.

Hi I read your post above, and was wondering what you mean by double fusion? you mean posterior and anterior surgery of the same vertebral location? Also who did your ADR?

 
Old 02-25-2012, 08:34 PM   #12
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

This is probably a stupid question, but oh well I seen in yalls post that y'all mentioned disc replacement vs. fusion. I had an acdf two level, which they took out 2 disc & replaced with donor bone in each level & fused with metal plate & screws. Thanks!
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Herniated disc L-3-4& L4-5 Laminectomy-discectomy 2001
Herniated disc - 360*fusion L4-5
Herniated disc c3-4 c4-5 with spinal cord compression
Acdf- 1/10/12
Chairi malformation

 
Old 02-26-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

LaurenK...a double fusion usually refers to fusing 2 levels such as C5-6-7....2 disk levels but 3 vertebrae.

A front and back fusion is a 360* fusion.

Many docs do ADR's but do be aware that they are not showing the good results everyone had hoped for. Most of the problems have to do with the use of BMP during surgery that overgrows or the ADR breaking down faster than they thought it would or it not be seated right to start with(from a doc who doesn't do them regularly).

Jenny

 
Old 02-26-2012, 12:40 PM   #14
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

what is BMP?

 
Old 02-27-2012, 11:50 AM   #15
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Re: C7-T1 Fusion or Disc Replacement?

BMP is Bovine Morphogenic Protein(also called Bone Morphogenic Protein but it is a cow product)and it's used to make the bone used to fuse things in place grow much faster....or the bone that is used to hold the ADR in place.

They often use little pieces of cadaver bone to help keep things in place when bone has been worn away by arthritis or with an ADR, to make the bone of the vertebra grow into the ADR...they have a rough surface to accept the bone as it grows. So to stimulate the bone to grow as fast as possible(and minimize the time you spend in a collar after surgery) they use BMP. But it is getting a bad reputation of overgrowing the bone in the very tight neck and causing additional problems.

Jenny

 
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