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Old 01-27-2003, 04:33 PM   #1
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Post Dangers of cervical surgery?

I posted this on the back board by mistake. This seems a more sensible place.

The NS was extremely dismissive when I asked him about possible negative results of a cervical fusion.
He basically said that the only real danger is paralysis - and there's less than 1% probability of that happening.
He also said "If the metal plates get infected we'll just take them out again". I'm afraid I don't find that reassuring at all.

Can anyone tell me what the dangers are?


 
Old 01-27-2003, 09:41 PM   #2
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Tef, friday will be 7 week post-op for me, maybe I'm not the norm, but i felt basically fine after about ten days. as far as the plate getting infected, I think he meant post fusion, in which it's not really needed anymore, it's kind of like a cast on a broken arm, once the bone grows back together, they take off the cast. the surgery was easier than I thought it would be, my only problem was my bladder freaked out from the catheter...that hurt like hell. Now I just want to go back to work.

 
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Old 01-28-2003, 09:01 AM   #3
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A catheter. Ouch! Poor mothmin.

Are those really the only things that can go wrong though?

 
Old 01-28-2003, 10:47 AM   #4
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Taffy, I was told paralasis was more likely if you DON'T get the surgery! especially if your cord is being compressed. I tryed every alterative befor surgery including stretching (every) morning at 4 am. it helped the pain but my cord was crushed and had to be fixed. you'll be fine.

 
Old 01-29-2003, 01:40 PM   #5
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Hello Tefkat,

I am new to this board and don't know anything about your situation except what you have posted. I'm not sure if you are asking about possible complications during surgery or after. I am not a doctor or medical professional and my comments should not be construed as medical advise.
One of the problems that cervical fusion has caused me is that the levels above and below the fusion site take on additional stress and eventually they become problems as well. Also, I am aware that pedicle screws often used in plating can have problems later on (breaking).

 
Old 02-01-2003, 04:27 AM   #6
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That's probably what my GP meant 20 years ago when he said it wasn't worth them operating on my back beacause they'd only end up having to do it again every few years.

I was just concerned about the possibility of making matters worse in the short term. In 2 or 3 years the children will be eligible for a school taxi but until then I need to be able to drive.

Does the loss of movement in your neck affect your driving much?

 
Old 02-14-2003, 07:09 PM   #7
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I had extreme compression on my cord at C3-4 which caused a contusion. The surgery to correct removed the pressure resulting in a blowout. Probably rare but in my case I was left a functioning Incomplete Quad. These warnings are not to be taken too lightly since I was in excellent physical condition and no problem was expected in the OR. Good Luck.

 
Old 02-15-2003, 04:51 PM   #8
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I'm considering surgery for cervical disc herniations c4567 and am not looking forward to it. I'm concerned about the after effects, and going through the front of my neck really freaks me out. I can still function ok if I limit my activity, take my meds and go to therapy, so it's not urgent that I have the surgery right now, but I will eventually have to. I need some feedback, please, from everyone who knows about this surgery or has experienced it. Recovery time, after effects, etc. I have two children and I need to take them into consideration, too. How well will I be able to function after the surgery? What's the success rate? Thanx in advance!

 
Old 02-15-2003, 05:03 PM   #9
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Longer you wait, seems around here the harder the recoup. You know I freaked when I heard that about going into the front of my neck. It's actually just a small incision and the move the throat and other lovely items out of the way and fix the discs. My doctor said there is a 20% of a failed fusion, where the bone just doesn't fuse. But most do, especially when your doctor is good at it and does it right. That is his opinion
Anyway, I would never personally recommend waiting, taking meds and putting life on hold (while in pain) is not acceptable to me.
I was back at work in six weeks and nobody could even tell. Could have gone back in 4 if the doctor let me
Go for it when you are ready, but don't wait to long you don't want any long term affects.
Debbie

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ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
September 4, 2002.
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ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
September 4, 2002.

 
Old 02-15-2003, 06:47 PM   #10
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Queenof hearts after reading your post I felt the need to reply this is my first post. I had anterior cervical corpectomy on C56 with donor bone titantium plate from c3 to c7 and screws. I was scared to death when NS first told me. scare is about 5 inches long stayed one night in hospital will not sugar coat had pain am now 12 weeks post op. wore aspen collar for 8 weeks.. Had no choice was told had severe cervical stenosis could wind up in wheelchair or worse at anytime even though I felt pretty much OK.. hope this helps some god bless..
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Old 02-15-2003, 07:33 PM   #11
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Queen of Hearts, What are your symptoms and how long have you been having them? Is the disc pressing on any nerve roots and/or spinal cord? Correction is important in either case because if you let it go there could be permanent nerve damage. Also, if the disc is totally ruptured, you could develop some form of arthritis at some point in the future from the bones grinding together.

With that being said, you don't want unnecessary surgery either, which has its own risks. I strongly believe that a person should avoid surgery if they can. I have been having neck problems for four years now and am just going for surgery next week. Some people think four years is such a long time but I wasn't having any trouble with my arms or fingers - the pain I had was in my neck and right shoulder and would only flare up once or twice a year. It wasn't until recently that I developed more serious and constant symptoms. I feel comfortable about going for surgery now because I know I really need it.

I would say see more than one doctor - an ortho, nuerologist and/or nuerosurgeon depending on symptoms and get 2nd & 3rd opinions.

I wish you lots of luck and hope you feel better soon. Let us know your progress.

Renee

------------------
1982 Fusion surgery for scoliosis with stainless steel Harrington Rod (T5 - L3) using pelvic bone for grafting
1999 Neck problems began
2001 Cervical Kyphosis
2003 3 Herniated Cervical Discs - C4 thru C7. One disc (C5-6) pressing on the spinal cord (no nerve root compression) causing leg weakness, tingling and burning - diagnosed with myelopathy and anterior cervical discectomy recommended.
Surgery finally scheduled for 2/24/03!
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1982 Fusion surgery for scoliosis with stainless steel Harrington Rod (T5 - L3) using pelvic bone for grafting
1999 Neck problems began
2001 Cervical Kyphosis
2002 Diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (level was 7+) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
2003 3 Herniated Cervical Discs - C4 thru C7. One disc (C5-6) pressing on the spinal cord (no nerve root compression) causing leg weakness, tingling, burning and numbness - diagnosed with myelopathy and ACDF recommended.
2/24/03 One-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy with donor bone and titanium plate (C5-6)
Post 2/03 - Symptoms returned and worsening. Weakness in my legs is like walking against a 50 mph wind - pain in lower back and all the way down my right leg to the ankle - vertigo, muscle spasms in trunk and legs
7/03 EEG, BAERS and MRI of brain all normal
7/03 MRI of lumbar spine showed mild herniated disc (L4/5) with moderate to severe DDD and edema in the endplates. HOLDING OUT FOR ARTIFICIAL DISC REPLACEMENT!

 
Old 02-16-2003, 02:24 PM   #12
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Tefkat - Not sure if you've already had surgery, but I just saw your post. Any surgery has risks just from the anesthesia alone. I am almost 3 weeks post-op and one aspect of my surgery that made me more comfortable was the fact that one individual was responsible for "spinal cord monitoring." He literally wired me up with electrodes after I was put to sleep and he was the surgeons early warning system of injury. For instance, he could tell the surgeon if my body was reacting to a nerve being touched before injury would occur (e.f. a foot twitching etc.). I know this additon to the procedure cost more, but I would ask your doc if they take this precaution. Best, BWL
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ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

 
Old 02-16-2003, 02:26 PM   #13
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Tekat - One more thing. Not all docs catheterize for this procedure. I did not have one, so perhaps there's some hope to avoid the uncomfortable experience. BWL
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ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

 
Old 09-08-2003, 05:36 PM   #14
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I'm going in for the op tomorrow. I shall beg them not to catheterize me.

 
Old 09-08-2003, 06:56 PM   #15
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TefKat:

Good Luck! I'll send a prayer up for you tomorrow. Please let us know how you are doing.

Be positive!

Terry

 
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