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    Old 01-26-2005, 10:33 PM   #1
    Join Date: Jan 2005
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    RAZOR Z HB User
    Arrow Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    I was wondering for those of you that have unfortunatly had to have Spinal Fusion:

    Was there a direct reason that caused you to eventually have spinal fusion?

    What were your symtoms?

    Which vertabraes did you have fused?

    Anyone ever have to go back for a second procedure? (Or are faced with this?)

    Did you have any immediate relief after your surgery?...

    In case your wondering why I'm being so nosey is my mom is a new member (long time sufferer) on here - LynfromMichigan. I'm her son Aaron and I am 24. I was there when she had her first surgery in late November 2003.... And with no immediate success it was depressing. As she began to feel slightly better (early January) she got nailed by some stupid lady making a U-turn!!! We obviously went to the emergency room and they said Whiplash!!! Now, for a bit of good news..... Her NS was actually at the hospital that night by coincidence and took a look over her x-rays and said her harware looked good - well that was quite a godsend that he was there that night to put us at ease! Especially since it's not his hospital...

    Well here's what I'm getting at: The NS is considering operating on C4 now. Basically going back in and fusing in C4 and putting in a new peice of hardware. Now he also said there was a "new" bone spur. Well, why after about a year is there a need to go fuse another vertabrae? Did he miss something the first time? Did originally taking the pressure off of c5-c7 with the first surgery cause c4 to weaken over the course of 14 months? If she has this 2nd surgery what's the chance of c3 going bad!?!? What's the chance of her finally getting relief!?!? If she were to see another NS (to get a second opinon) could her NS find out? Also I've read about "disc replacement" surgery on here - is that better then fusion? Can it still be done? What is a cage? My mom has pins, plates, and donor bone. If someone wants to see here's my mom's 1st post:


    Thanks guys.

    Last edited by RAZOR Z; 01-26-2005 at 11:01 PM.

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    Old 01-27-2005, 05:16 AM   #2
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    Could she get an opinion by an orthopedic spine specialist? Mine was only two years off a fellowship and he was great!

    Old 01-27-2005, 05:46 AM   #3
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    Dear Aaron:

    Sorry about your mom's pain and suffering. I'll tell you what happened to me, maybe it will help. I had an injury 3 years ago, causing broken tailbone, herniation of L 4-5, L5--S-1. After 8 months of non-surgical treatment, had fusion of those 2 levels. Months later, I still had tremendous pain, especially in leg. (Surgery performed by neurosurgeon). He dismissed it, got 2nd opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon. For whatever reason, I never "fused", plus one of the screws was actually penetrating my L-4, causing the nerve damage. I had another fusion, but this time L 3-4 thru L5--S-1 (3 levels because the level right above 1st fusion "weakened"). Also had degeneration and bone spurs as well. With fusions, there will always be a risk that the levels right above or below will "weaken" or be compromised. I now have an injury to my C 5-6 that I'm dealing with. I would get 2nd opinion; who is her current doctor? I'm from Mich. as well, can reccomend my ortho, very happy with him. Good luck!

    Old 01-27-2005, 06:29 AM   #4
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    My NS told me there is "anecdotal" evidence that fusing one level can cause more stress on the levels above and below it, leading to problems with those levels. It's possible that has happened in your mom's case. He said there not hard data to prove this outcome is happening, but the way he talked about it, I believe he thinks it does happen in some patients.

    I think you will find a number of people on these boards who have had one fusion and have had to consider or have a second fusion. In my case, I had a surgical procedure to fix the herniation without fusion, but in most cases, ACDF is done. With degenerative disc disease there is always a chance that another level will start to cause problems.

    Getting a second opinion can never hurt. I got a second opinion and went with the second surgeon I saw simply because I was more comfortable with him and because he explained things better. Good communication can help in dealing with the frustration that comes from these problems.

    There is a new procedure in which the cervical disc is replaced by an artificial disc. This avoids fusion and any problems that come with it. However, this is still an experimental treatment and not yet approved by the FDA, as I understand it. It may be several years or more before it is common. My NS expressed a lot of caution about this new technology, saying that very little data has been collected on how people do with it over time.

    Old 01-27-2005, 07:18 AM   #5
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    Aaron, So very sorry about your mom.I answered 1 of her posts. I can tell you that I had my fusion done because of pain.It was so bad that I was willing to risk surgery.I just got to the piont that I couldn't handle it anymore when you hit this wall you become desperate and you will try anything.Yes I'm facing another surgery.
    As far as 2nd. op. yes get one,any doc. worth his salt is not offend by this.a lot of it comes down to who you are comfortable with if you trust them always go with your gut,trust your instincts.The best of luck to all of you, your in my prayers! Heather

    Old 01-27-2005, 07:23 AM   #6
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    Was there a direct reason that caused you to eventually have spinal fusion? Lived 10 years in pain and finally had enough.

    What were your symtoms? Left arm numb, pain in shoulders and neck.

    Which vertabraes did you have fused? ACDF C5-7 with Corpectomy
    Titanium plate and screws

    Anyone ever have to go back for a second procedure? (Or are faced with this?)
    Going back in Feb. to have posterior fusion w/rods and screws due to non-union at c5-6 possible foraminotomy (sp?)

    Did you have any immediate relief after your surgery?...NOPE, not really. Without NSAIDS I probably would say I was worse after surgery.

    Old 01-27-2005, 03:26 PM   #7
    Eric Beck
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    Sorry about the continuing problems. Alot of us seem to have the same here. I am also fairly new here. I had c4-c5 fused last April. I am going to my NS on the 2nd after having lots of tests to see if I am a cndidate for yet another fusion. So yes, it seems to happen. When you need to go in again. Most reasons are not the fault of the NS.
    Mine as an example, was I had a very very obvious destroyed disk. The other two are torn which did not show on the MRI and we only found out after a discogram. I don't think that is a fault of the NS. If he thought it was warrented, he would have fixed the others before. It just happens that those ones were hiding pretty well from any x-rays or MRI's.Hope this helps and your Mom is well soon. I can really understand the depression that is felt. I too am dealing with it but have faith in my NS. Good luck to you and your Mom.

    Old 01-27-2005, 04:01 PM   #8
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...

    hi.... i dont know how much help this will be but i just had my cervical fusion, of c 3-4. I had a bone spur while in there and a membrain ruptured.(sorryabout the spelling) They fixed it and its been one week to the day and the pain i was havning in my arm and neck due to a car accident in 2001 is GONE. other then the tightness from the bandage and a little swelling i'm feeling pretty good. I'm in NJ and my NS is GREAT! i wouldnt go to anyone else..... Maybe in your case you need a 2nd opinion. I hope i was helpful a little. GOOD LUCK

    Old 01-27-2005, 06:10 PM   #9
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    Re: Questions for everyone whos had Spinal Fusion...


    Unfortunately after having one fusion you have more of a risk than normal of future surgeries because of the domino affect. I've had 3 surgeries in 10 years because of it. Not everyone has this problem though. Each of my surgeries have given relief from the symptoms I was having, but my biggest problem now is sleeping comfortably because I am a stomach sleeper and my neck doesn't want to move enough for that.


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