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  • Experience with c1-2 fusion

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    Old 12-23-2004, 02:37 PM   #1
    mellowfish
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    Exclamation Experience with c1-2 fusion

    Hi everybody. I am new to this board, and I am looking for some answers or similar experiences to give some much needed support to my father.

    After dealing with bursitis/tendonitis in his left shoulder for so long, my dad was sent to an orthopedist (cerivcal/spinal specialist), who discovered that before anything could be done for the shoulder, IMMEDIATE c1-2 fusion was necessary. His vertebral foramen (hole in spinal column in which cord runs) was 17mm, normal is 22mm. Orthopedist said could have been a defect from birth; a simple whiplash could cause permanent paralyzation.

    C1-2 fusion took place around May 11, 2004. Going in throught the back of the neck, a "wedge" was put in between the vertebrae with two long screws and a bunch of wire (cage?). Surgery went very well. The big concern now is the amount of pain he is having. After reading so many posts, severe headaches seem to be a pretty common side effect with this type of surgery. If he does not wake up with a blinding headache, he has it within 20 minutes of rising. The headaches start at the top of his spine and radiate through the rest of his head, and NEVER GO AWAY. This started two weeks post op, he thinks if it were not for all the pain meds he was given he would have had them much sooner. He says this is the worst kind of pain he has ever had (and he has been through quite a lot of physical trauma in his life). He has been to a neurologist and been given MRIs and CAT scans, everything comes back as "normal".

    For quite a while he has been "immune" to ALL kinds of pain meds, nothing helps him. I am now talking to him about taking sessions in pain management, hopefully he can find some relief in that.

    If anybody has been through this and can share or relate, it would be greatly appreciated. Also if anyone has had this done and experienced the pain and also has experienced relief from this pain, please let us know, --is this normal? --when will it end?--do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

    Last edited by mellowfish; 12-24-2004 at 08:56 AM.

     
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    Old 12-23-2004, 04:42 PM   #2
    kellyv
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    ... deleted ...

    Last edited by kellyv; 09-30-2005 at 06:42 PM.

     
    Old 01-07-2005, 10:48 AM   #3
    mellowfish
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    Re: Experience with c1-2 fusion

    Things have improved a little but not much, is there anyone who has had a c1-2 fusion?

     
    Old 09-27-2005, 11:50 AM   #4
    dianaandbill
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    Re: Experience with c1-2 fusion

    I recently underwent a C1-2 fusion and started having severe headaches about a week later. The headaches are unilateral and located on the top of my head. The pain is the most intense I've ever felt. I've been put on several medications that seemed to have helped slightly for about a month, but the headaches are coming back more intensely and frequently now. The medications I am currently on are Amitriptyline/Elavil-an antidepressant known for its effect on neurogenic pain, Soma (muscle relaxant), Xanax (benzodiazepine), and a couple meds for Nausea/vomitting that I have in conjunction with the headaches. I have been told that this pain is from an irritated nerve. When they do a C1-2 fusion, they have to manipulate and sometimes cut 2-3 nerves, which is why the back of the head often becomes numb after the surgery. I hope this helps.

     
    Old 09-27-2005, 01:20 PM   #5
    mellowfish
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    Re: Experience with c1-2 fusion

    Thanks so much for replying, dianaandbill, I hope all the pain you are experiencing will be very short lived and may you have a speedy healing process.

    It has been well over a year since my dad's c1-2 fusion and his pain is just as bad as ever .

    He had returned to the orthopedist that performed the surgery and was told that there were no problems, the pain should go away as the bones knit in some more. The orthopedist then referred him to a neurologist (who just happened to be a patient of said orthopedist, having undergone a successful fusion surgery himself). The neurologist said that there was no physical cause for the pain, and it certainly could not be the result from the fusion surgery!

    At this point, my father has been told by these two doctors that "nothing more can be done, just go back to work/deal with the pain as best you can". He should have taken disability years ago (all of his doctors at the time were pushing him to), but he flat out refused to in favor of working until retirement. He still continues to work with the incredible pain in his head. It had gotton so bad that he mentioned retiring early on disability to the orthopedist, and the dr said, "There's nothing wrong with you that you can't go to work every day," - this is among a myriad of other physical problems that leave him completely debilitated at times.

    It's been suggested my father see another doctor, but all the specialists in his area either won't see his case and refer him to the dr that did his surgery, or they have already seen and referred him. It makes me so mad to see him suffer, and he's afraid if another doctor would find something wrong they would have to do another surgery (sigh).

    I hate to have frightened anybody, but I don't feel it can be said enough that with this kind of surgery to get several opinions from completely unrealted doctors that are far enough away from each other to not have any conflicting interests. Regards.

    Last edited by mellowfish; 09-27-2005 at 01:24 PM.

     
    Old 09-27-2005, 06:14 PM   #6
    jj7554
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    Re: Experience with c1-2 fusion

    C1-2 fusion is what I am facing... I am having terrible headaches as well.
    My Dr has me on kadian, valium, oxycontin, phenergan (for nausea) and effexor (for depression)
    I understand the pain issue and understand that I will be on some kind of pain management for the rest of my life..
    What I am wondering about it the movement restrictions that you have when C1-2 are fused.
    Good Luck to your Father.
    JJ

     
    Old 09-27-2005, 08:07 PM   #7
    mellowfish
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    Re: Experience with c1-2 fusion

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jj7554
    C1-2 fusion is what I am facing... I am having terrible headaches as well.
    My Dr has me on kadian, valium, oxycontin, phenergan (for nausea) and effexor (for depression)
    I understand the pain issue and understand that I will be on some kind of pain management for the rest of my life..
    What I am wondering about it the movement restrictions that you have when C1-2 are fused.
    Good Luck to your Father.
    JJ
    I'll try to get my dad online this weekend, he might be able to get some support from the boards and offer his own personal experience.

    I do know that he lost a large range of motion in turning his head from side to side. Except for hearing from dianaandbill, I have found ZERO experiences related to this procedure - there is one old thread, but no info. We haven't met anyone who has personally had this done either. My dad says that he never would have had the surgery had he known it would leave him like this. He is living every day with pain greater than he has ever experienced in his whole life, and he's been through quite a lot.

    If there is anyone who's had a c1-2 done and recovered to an expected state of normalcy, it would be lifting to hear about it. I'll look about some more in the meanwhile.

    Good luck to you jj, may all go well for you.

     
    Old 09-27-2005, 10:09 PM   #8
    jj7554
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    Re: Experience with c1-2 fusion

    Thank you for the well wishes!


    deleted

    who did your dads surgery? ortho or nuro?
    I hate it that he said he would not do it again, I am so sorry for the pain he is in.
    Hopefully your father will get online.

    Last edited by Administrator; 10-20-2007 at 10:37 AM. Reason: don't ask for info not given.

     
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