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  • 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

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    Old 10-10-2005, 07:10 AM   #1
    Unbearable
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    2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Hello all,

    I am a 48 year old female with degenerative disc disease. I had an ACDF C-5-6 in May 2003. The level of fusion prolapsed and caused my C-7 disc to rupture. This happened for the first time in Nov. 2004 and since has been chronic. We tried all less invasive approaches such as SNI (2) 1st worked, 2nd did not. P/T was not helpful. My doc said he was willing to do surgery at this point, and after I went to a pain management clinic, and they wanted me to be on MS Contin, that was my last straw. Question....has this happened to anyone else out there? He will be taking out the old hardware (plates and screws) because it is right next to my other fusion. I have desiccation in 3-4 as well. He has not mentioned surgery on these yet. Has anyone had old plates and screws taken out and how risky is it? Was it more painful? Thanks .....I am very nervous, even though I have gone through this once before.

     
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    Old 10-10-2005, 09:47 AM   #2
    dootag
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Hi Unbearable,

    First let me say don't worry. I've been there and it's not so bad. Most of this forum I suspect has also been there or something similar.

    Mine was done in 89 and 91. The first ACDF at C6/7 broke in 2002. The quality of donor bone wasn't so good in those days apparently because of fear of AIDS diminishing the quality of donor bone. I am puzzled why they are taking the hardware out. If I would have had a plate at C6/7 instead of C5/6 only I wouldn't have a broken fusion today. Other folks including some on this forum have had hardware removed and you'll likely hear from them.

    I'm just curious why the aversion to MS Contin? The lower doses such as a 15 only release a very small amount of morphine hourly. I don't know I'm taking it - the ugly part of the pain just sort of fades either away or to a managable level. Really, it's not a bad alternative to surgery. I've had two surgeries and now there is so much scar tissue on my vocal cords that a third trip is predicted to be a 97% chance I will be rendered dumb after the operation. I've been living with the broken fusion now for three years with no options. I'm not suggesting the same thing could happen to you. I'm just suggesting you think hard about having the second surgery while you still have options. -- does any of that make sense?--

    Good luck,
    dootag

     
    Old 10-10-2005, 12:17 PM   #3
    Unbearable
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dootag
    Hi Unbearable,

    First let me say don't worry. I've been there and it's not so bad. Most of this forum I suspect has also been there or something similar.

    Mine was done in 89 and 91. The first ACDF at C6/7 broke in 2002. The quality of donor bone wasn't so good in those days apparently because of fear of AIDS diminishing the quality of donor bone. I am puzzled why they are taking the hardware out. If I would have had a plate at C6/7 instead of C5/6 only I wouldn't have a broken fusion today. Other folks including some on this forum have had hardware removed and you'll likely hear from them.

    I'm just curious why the aversion to MS Contin? The lower doses such as a 15 only release a very small amount of morphine hourly. I don't know I'm taking it - the ugly part of the pain just sort of fades either away or to a managable level. Really, it's not a bad alternative to surgery. I've had two surgeries and now there is so much scar tissue on my vocal cords that a third trip is predicted to be a 97% chance I will be rendered dumb after the operation. I've been living with the broken fusion now for three years with no options. I'm not suggesting the same thing could happen to you. I'm just suggesting you think hard about having the second surgery while you still have options. -- does any of that make sense?--

    Good luck,
    dootag
    Dootag,

    I am really sprry to hear about your problems. This is what I have weighed heavily - the risks of another surgery vs. pain for the rest of my life. Pain that possibly can be corrected. I don't have an aversion to MS Contin, I believe it is wonderful to have that for people such as yourself who have no other options. Personally, I didn't want to be on it forever. My Neuro is taking out the old hardware because it no longer needs to be there. I am completely and solidly fused from the previous surgery. Another fact is that the levels of fusions are directly next to one another. The plate would not "fit in" as well if he kept the old plates there. Not be unsympatehtic to you or harse, but a lot has been "upgraded" and new science has entered the picture of neurosurgey since the early 1990's. I feel for you so much. Your story scares me too. But I have chosen this road, as I do have an option here. A life of pain, or try to be rid of the pain. I hope this works! Good luck to you.

     
    Old 10-10-2005, 02:06 PM   #4
    wimpette
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Hi Unbearable,
    Sounds like you're experiencing what you see mentioned on this board as the 'domino effect'. It's fairly common that after a fusion you can have a problem at the level above or below the original fusion. It sounds as if your surgeon has a very reasonable approach and as far as I know not that much more complicated than your original procedure. However, as this is repeat surgery I would strongly urge you to get at least one, or preferably two, other opinions prior to surgery to see if that is indeed the best way of dealing with your problem and what your other options are.

    My repeat surgery was from the back which in my case stood a better chance of recovering fully but a longer and more difficult post op period. However I got a total of three opinions before proceeding with more surgery.

    Keep us informed as to how you're doing.
    W

     
    Old 10-10-2005, 07:17 PM   #5
    DonnaKay
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Hi! I'm 45 y/o. I've had two surgeries, didn't get a plate the first time, but am the proud owner of one now. lol I also have other disks that will probably need to be fixed in the future. My surgeon didn't want to correct them b/c they were not symptomatic, and he was right. I have much faith in my surgeon, and I can't stress the importance of that in anyone who is having surgery on their cervical spine. You'd be constantly second guessing them if you didn't. As for removing the plate you already have, I would think that they would be replacing it with your second surgery. But, I'm no expert. ;-) Keep us updated on your decisions. I, personally, could not live with the pain. I have a high tolerance for pain ... and it was not tolerable. Good luck! Oh ... something else, the screws on my new plate were screwed directly into the original fusion. I thought that was weird! But all is well ...

     
    Old 10-10-2005, 11:53 PM   #6
    hugo eve
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    'Ello

    I had fusion C456 in 12/03 with plate and 6 screws. 5 weeks ago I had fusion C67, removal of original plate and new one put in. I was thinking of having the plate inscribed with a message in case archeologists dig me up in many centuries time <grin>. Anyway back to the present, the surgery was far easier the second time and there was no problem with removal of plate (I wonder where it is? somebody else might be wearing it now!)

    Tell you the truth I rather enjoyed being in hospital but I would definately shave my arm next time as the sticky plaster they used to hold tubes in really hurt when then took it off. I remember that was the most painful bit of the first surgery too. Don't know how you girls put up with the wax treatment. And as for a Brazilian... and you worry about spinal surgery.....strewth.

    Hugz

     
    Old 10-12-2005, 03:39 PM   #7
    Unbearable
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Hi everyone!

    Thanks so much for your responses. I am going into this surgery with 3 opinions. Two Neuros and a long term pain specialist. Have tried all other less invasive approaches....10 days to go before...getting a bit nervous! I'll post more later...thanks all!

     
    Old 10-13-2005, 01:08 PM   #8
    Unbearable
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    Re: 2nd ACDF in 2 weeks, questions...

    Hugo Eve-

    Your silliness made me smile! Thanks - glad to know your 2nd was easier! I know exactly what you mean about the "tubes"! I hate that too, especially when they first put in the needle!!! Ouch!!! Glad to know knwo you had no problems!! I hope all is as well for me ))

     
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