Hello all. Back on May 31,2011 I had my C4-C6 fused.
Pre op my only syptoms were twitching right bicept/forearm and numb/tingling in my right thumb and index finger. Two days before surgery the left side of my face started to tingle.
When I woke up those symptoms were gone, however, my left thumb was completely numb. The doctor said not to worry as he had to move lots of things around and this is normal.
Over the next 6 weeks post op, my left hand went tingly and so did everything from my left knee down.
About 8 weeks out, all symptoms had subsided, until I bent over to lift up a pair of boxers on my kitchen floor. I did the squat down and pick up method as I had done countless times, only this time I think I stood up too quickly. I felt like a bunch of hot pins and needles were *****ling all up the back of my head. Post surgery whenever I walked I felt some of the hot pin *****ling and figured that was normal. After I stood I knew something was wrong. My left leg from the knee down was tingling again and now so was the left side of my face. Two weeks after what I now call the "laundry incident" i was in the ER as every muscle on the left hand side of my body was spasming and my left thigh felt like it was on fire. The doc gave me steroids and it helped the burning/tingling, but not the spams.
Here I am nearly 4 months after surgery. A week ago today I took my motorcycle out down the street and back. I was not wearing a helmet as i didnt want to put the weight on my neck. I was sitting upright as well. When I got home I felt fine... until I went into my house. I felt one hot pin *****ly in the back of my head and said "uh oh." About a 4" section of my left calf was tingling. The next day I woke up and my left knee down and thigh were starting to bother me again so I started to take advil which seemed to help.
Someone suggested going for a second opinion w/ a neurologist instead of seeing my nuerosurgeon again. I did just that. My neurologist said since there are two events where I bent over or did something which resulted in increased symptoms that there is something coming into contacted with my spinal chord and that more than likely they will have to go back in. He is supposed to be calling my neurosurgeon to talk to him. I am still waiting the call back. Knowing the medical field I won't get one until tomorrow despite him saying I would get a call back today.
So anyways, here I sit today and most of my motions are jerkey. I cant raise my legs w/o having them jerk around. My hands/arm motion seem jerkey. My left thigh bothers me and two of my left toes are sorta numb. I still have spasms some of which are now on the right side of my body including the pectoral muscles on both sides.
Has anyone had a similar situation of being symptom free then doing something then syptoms come back for 5-6 weeks? This has happened twice now and this is what causes my neurologist to believe my surgery went wrong.
oh yea almost forgot, about two weeks out of surgery i went to reposition my hips in bed and heard a nasty crunch in my neck. doctor simply said "dont do that." Xrays looked final.
lastly, i have the typical titanium plate, however, i didnt do cadaver bone. This doctor uses a newer method filling polypropylene cages with bone marrow. It is said to heal faster w/ less pain and fuse better and be stronger.
You said your neurosurgeon believes your surgery went wrong. Didn't you mean the neurologist believes that? Getting the surgeon to admit that he screwed up might be a little harder than that.
It really does sound like a bad surgery, in my very amateur opinion. Doesn't happen very often with ACDF's, but it does happen. I don't know what's in the "normal" range of complications with ACDF's, but I do know that I had none at all after mine.
Since both your arms and legs are affected, if definitely would seem to be a cord problem, and NOT radiculopathy.
You didn't say anything about any imaging done after the surgery, not even an X-ray. Seems like a serious surgical screwup might show on an X-ray, although an MRI would be better.
I hope your neurosurgeon does the right thing and does an honest re-evaluation, rather than covering up. Please keep us posted in detail, as there are lots of people here looking into ACDF's, and they need to hear what might go wrong and how to prevent it.
Hey WebDozer. Sorry I did mean to say neurologist. My neurologist whom I saw before the surgery who recommended the neurosurgeon said that he believes the surgery "went wrong." That is a lot for him to say b/c the neurologist has known the neurosurgeon for 12 years.
I have had 3 post surgery xrays all of which showed proper hardware placement apparently. I have also had a brain MRI, C, T, and L scan. All of which showed fine. The neurologist saw all of the MRIs as well as the neurosurgeon and all said everything showed fine. However, we all should know that you can't see the area around the fusion due to the metal artifact. It causes ghosting. The only true way to see it is a spinal tap and a CT.
My neurologist believes that something is agitating the cord. We just dont know what. It can only really be two things. An allergic reaction to the material or the chord getting agitated by something.
I honestly don't know what my next move is here. My neurologist has to talk to my neurosurgeon and then get back to me.
The allergic reaction is an interesting possibility. Something about the new technique as opposed to the old allograft technique? I'm sorry to say that it does sound like they will need to fix something, maybe redo the whole thing. I hope you get a good CT, and I hope you keep us posted.