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ACDF C4/C5 8/2011-screws loose year later

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Old 09-14-2012, 01:27 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Staten Island, NY, US
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DFL31 HB User
Thumbs down ACDF C4/C5 8/2011-screws loose year later


My name is Diane and I am 31. I fell down a flight of stairs in May 2009 and had to have ACDF C4/C5 surgery last August. I went back to my surgeon in November 2011 because I was in Chronic pain. We did MRI/XRAY and he stated that everything was in tact and healed very nicely. I was extremely confused considering the constant chronic pain I was experiencing.
I recently went to the Hosp for Special Surgery and had a C-Scan and was told that the screws and plate are loose and all my discs from C3-C6 are herniated and degenerative.
I have to go for a 2nd surgery to fix the ACDF my prior surgeon performed and also have to have a new surgery on the other discs. I am beyond frustrated and upset, actually I going through many emotions as my quality of life is extremely poor.
I am not sure how people live like this

Any advice anyone could offer would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

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Old 09-14-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
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Oldbookman HB User
Re: ACDF C4/C5 8/2011-screws loose year later

Jeeze Diane, obviously 1st things 1st: get yourself fixed & find a good pain management clinic/physician. But I'd certainly report that 1st doctor to your state board. How is it possible for those scans to be correct? Sounds like he's covering up his malpractice. Hang n there. Your pain can be controlled, but it takes time to find the right med(s). AND doctors!!!

Last edited by Oldbookman; 09-14-2012 at 02:36 PM.

Old 09-14-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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Re: ACDF C4/C5 8/2011-screws loose year later

I'm sorry for the problems you are having post surgery. At least you will be in very good hands for your revision surgery.

Unfortunately your experience is not all that uncommon. I'm not attempting to make any excuses for the surgeons who tell their patients that everything looks great when, in fact, it is not...but, it isn't all that common to have screws loosen up, for hardware to fail, etc., and I think surgeons just aren't willing to admit it happened to their surgery. Also, once hardware is in place, it can be difficult to tell if a fusion is complete, as the hardware sends off "artifact" which tends to fog the image. Why more surgeons aren't willing to investigate more thoroughly when the patient tells the surgeon she is still in terrible pain, I do not know and I certainly fault them for that.

A friend of mine ended up going to what seems like half the spine surgeons in the greater Detroit area and U of Mich. and kept being told everything looked great. No one could say why she was in excruciating pain -- she was sent to a pain psychologist to help her deal with her problems. In the meantime, I kept telling her to keep looking for someone who could help her because I was convinced something was still compressing a nerve.

Finally she found someone who primarily does revision surgeries, and he took one look at her MRI and sent her for a bone scan, etc. Low and behold, she had only fused in one corner (hers was lumbar); one screw was going through the spinal nerve, the rest of the hardware was loose and that segment of her spine was unstable. She had revision surgery and is doing much better today.

Things happen. Be glad you have found the reason for your pain and someone who will help you as quickly as you did. *** is the best orthopedic hospital in the US so you have every chance of having a successful procedure and outcome.

Try to put what has happened behind you and prepare yourself for your new surgery. It helps to have a positive, calm attitude as you go into a big surgery. We're here to help you if you have questions or concerns, or just need some support. I didn't go into my own story...but it took 3 times for me to finally get my lumbar issues resolved...and dealing with sciatic pain for over six I understand the frustrations you are dealing with.

Old 09-17-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Staten Island, NY, US
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DFL31 HB User
Re: ACDF C4/C5 8/2011-screws loose year later

Thank you guys for responding, I have so many different emotions going on and its nice to have a place to vent/talk/listen/give advice on my personal experiences.

Do you happen to know the screws they use to perform the ACDF surgery?

Thanks again!

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