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    Old 11-16-2008, 05:00 AM   #1
    linda1217
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    Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hi
    I have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, myelopathy and OPLL (Ossification Posterior Longitudinal Ligaments. I have seen two surgeons who said that I have to have a posterior cervical decompression from C3-C7 with fusion. I am going to get a third opinion on 11/24/08. I have slight pain in my upper back and neck and constant tingling in both hands. My right foot has a HEAT that comes and goes. Has anyone had this type of surgery that involves such a large are of the cervical spine? Could you please tell me what it was like right after surgery and how it felt in the weeks of post op? I'm really scared!!!

    Also has anyone heard of Dr Frank Cammisa of Hospital of Special Surgery or
    Dr Roger Hartl of Cornell Both in NYC.

    Thanks. any input would be appreciated

     
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    Old 11-16-2008, 07:32 PM   #2
    BronxEggCream
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    roger hartl and cammissa are considered great surgeons from what i understand
    i used hartl for a second opinion and what he said matched the first opinion i got.

    good luck
    bronx

    Last edited by moderator2; 11-17-2008 at 05:21 AM. Reason: posted disallowed website(s)

     
    Old 11-16-2008, 08:18 PM   #3
    sunshine221
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Bronx

    Look up my old postings on posterior surgery. I had a laminectomy C4-C7 with no fusion - it basically opens up the compression in the central cord - it sounds like this is what they want to do with you. To me it made more sense than an ACDF with that many levels but it is a slightly harder recovery due to cutting the large muscles in the upper back but it really wasn't bad. I had some ups and downs while the nerves were "healing" and saw improvement even two years later. I've had and ocassionally still have "hot" spots and "cold" spots and ocassional numbness.

    MRI's post surgery in July 06, Dec 07 and Oct 08 all were similar and still show some "significant" stenosis (C5-C6) which probably explains the ocassional issues but no change is good.

    Good luck with your decision processes. I don't check back here all the time but I'll try to look for your posts. I went with a small town surgeon, in retrospec I wish I had gone to a bigger medical center. The doc was fine but the hospital staff wasn't familiar with the procedure.

    -Gloria

     
    Old 11-16-2008, 10:15 PM   #4
    linda1217
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunshine221 View Post
    Bronx

    Look up my old postings on posterior surgery. I had a laminectomy C4-C7 with no fusion - it basically opens up the compression in the central cord - it sounds like this is what they want to do with you. To me it made more sense than an ACDF with that many levels but it is a slightly harder recovery due to cutting the large muscles in the upper back but it really wasn't bad. I had some ups and downs while the nerves were "healing" and saw improvement even two years later. I've had and ocassionally still have "hot" spots and "cold" spots and ocassional numbness.

    MRI's post surgery in July 06, Dec 07 and Oct 08 all were similar and still show some "significant" stenosis (C5-C6) which probably explains the ocassional issues but no change is good.

    Good luck with your decision processes. I don't check back here all the time but I'll try to look for your posts. I went with a small town surgeon, in retrospec I wish I had gone to a bigger medical center. The doc was fine but the hospital staff wasn't familiar with the procedure.

    -Gloria
    Hi thanks so much for replying. Both doctors i've been to so far want to do the fusion. As i said I'm going to the 3rd next monday. How is your range of motion now? Was it very painful when you woke up from the surgery.? My fear is that I'm going to wake up with a breathing tube! Silly right? I'm usually a very strong person but this has really gotten to me!!

     
    Old 11-17-2008, 09:40 AM   #5
    linda1217
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    thanks, going to hartl on the 24th nov. been to cammisa already. have you gottoen the same procedure done

     
    Old 11-18-2008, 09:01 AM   #6
    feelbad
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    hi linda, i am just wondering the exact nature of how extensive the c spine problems are? i am only asking becasue when you actually have myelopathy your cord is actually being directly affected. that is what is creating the 'perceptionary" type of sensations you have espescially within the foot and the perception of heat? is it actually hot to the touch or does it just "feel' to you like it is? i have cord damage and had a glob of blood vessels removed(posterior approach) and what i was feeling before was a huge bunch of "perceptions' of things like someone was trying to pry off my shoulder blade? very insane stuff from cord involvement. i still get this stuff from time to time but i too also had a fusion done but the anterior approach. but i can always tell just what IS from the c spine mess i have and what is the cord involvement just by how it 'feels" to me. it really can get pretty bizzarre at times in just what our bodies can "create" with cord involvement.

    i am wondering just what actually IS affecting your cord with only stenosis going on up there? do you have a copy of your MRI report so you could post here what was in the summary at the very end of that report? it would help to be able to help you better if you could do that. stenosis,unless of course it is actually within the spinal canal itself,just would not be able to actually extend out that far to the cord,thats what i am wondering about. marcia
    __________________
    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 11-19-2008, 06:53 AM   #7
    linda1217
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hi Marcia,

    What I have in addition to the spinal stenosis is OPLL ( Ossification Posterior Ligaments Longitunally). The ligaments have hardened and are pressing against my spinal cord causing the myelopathy. It involves C2-C7. They have to decompress the spine my removing the ossification and then need to put a plate and rods and fuse everything. I have been told that my neck movement will be very limited in nodding and somewhat limited in moving my neck sideweays.

    How do you feel after your fusion and how long ago did you have it? Do you have limited motion? Was there much pain after the surgery? I am going to have to wear a collar for a while. Did you wear one?

    Hope this clarifys your questions. I'm going for another opinion on 11/24. Please get back to me

    thanks so much

     
    Old 11-19-2008, 09:26 AM   #8
    feelbad
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    geez,just when you think you have heard it all. i never heard of that occuring in the spine before. just how much of you actual cord is being affected and how severely is the overall impact to it? is there any mention at all of something called myelomalacia going on at the cord contact areas? if there is not,thats a good thing for you and your cord. believe me when i say i do know what it is you are probably feeling with that just being there. it can get a bit insane at times in how the cord reacts to just being contacted.

    i had the anterior apprach done for my c spine fusion,i had herniated the c 6-7. but my cord surgery had to be done thru the back and it was a bit more problematic just becasue they have to cut thru all of that hard thick muscle up there? i also had to have another surgery(anterior) to place hardware when it was not fusing. it has since then tho. you can read the dates down below here in my signiture? i also had to wear that collar too for both c spine surgeries. my best advice to you on that would be to ask your surgeon about getting your collar fitted and if you can,get the "miami J" collar? this was the most comfortable one i used. had that really hard philly collar the first time around and it just dug into my shoulders. they CAN fit one for you right to your very own neck size,it really does help alot to have one that is just for you. i had to wear mine both times for about six weeks. but with having hardware it will help in possibly not even having to go that long since that is also splinting the areas that need fusing too ya know? without hardware,the only thing that keeps things well aligned and in constant contact so it will fuse is usually just that collar,so you will be good there.

    i would imagine given the amount of your c spine that will be fused,you will have more limits than i do at only having one fused area,but i still really don;t notice it too much unless i try and like hold a phone under my ear by trying to tilt my neck to the side? can't do that real well anymore. i can still tilt it to the side,just not as much as before. not too bad tho. you just have to consider the trade offs here ya know? how much longer can you just live this way vs ending up with some limitations but no more compression on your cord and reducton in pain. alot of how much actual range of motion you will realistically have will not be til post op unfortunetly. it all depends. but you just need that cord compression gone,thats a number one priority or it will get worse and casue you more problems ya know?

    i would most defintiely ask your suregon about how they will be controlling your post op pain in hosp and when you go home too. its just good to get that all taken care of so you KNOW what the surgeon told you and you know what to expect too. just make sure that before your surgery that you go to the store and pick up like four of five of those ice pack thingys? keep these in your freezer at all times and have enough so you can switch them out,ice is one of the BEST post op pain helpers,believe me. it kind of numbs things for you and also brings down swelling and inflammation too. you will not be able to use any NSAID types of pain relievers since they do inhibit bone fusion so ice really is a great help with that part. being prepared is always the best way to go,so plan ahead for anything you may think you might need or have to have ready for you.

    i am glad you are getting another opinion. that is always the best way to really know what to do and how different NSs and orthos view your situation too. just be prepared for the pain so it wont catch you by suprise. they are going to be cutting into those muscles so they will be a bit sore too for at least a week or so til they heal as well as the incision. this just comes with the territory when doing a posterior approach, that was very different in what i felt going in from the front. but i also had to have my actual cord cut into and a glob of blood vessels removed too. the cord just does not like to be cut ad lets you know that too,but thankfully that is not what they are going to be doing on you.

    just make a good list of questions for any surgeons you are seeing and ask about what to expect after and the pain management too,thats a biggie for you. hopefully they will send you home with a med called vistral? this just helps with any muscle spasms that can come along for the ride. its just good to have this stuff BEFORE you actually need it. valium can help with spasms too,just make certain they will be giving you something for muscle spasms,they can just spam after at times. i hope i answered at least some of your questions. if you have anymore just give me a hollar,K? good luck linda. Marcia
    __________________
    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 11-21-2008, 03:44 PM   #9
    linda1217
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hi Marcia

    Thank you so much for all the info and advice. No thank god there was no mention of myelomalacia.I know how serious that is. I'm going to mention all the things you suggested to the doctor when i see him on monday 11/24. I will keep you posted.
    Thanks again
    Linda

     
    Old 11-22-2008, 09:39 AM   #10
    feelbad
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    no problem linda. just wanted to give you a reaslly great idea that helped me the most with all the questions i needed answers to? just leave like a notebook along with a pen sitting out in the open somewhere where you can go to it the second you think of a really great question,and then write it down immediately,even if you think of it while lying in bed. if i had not done this,i would have forgotten like half of the really good questions that can just pop into your head at like really strange times? just write it down AS SOON as you think of them,K? i would think of something then wait til i had time,then it was gone forever,so this does help tons if you have any problems remembering things like i do?

    do you have your own copy of your MRI in your possession? if you do,could you type out what is in that summary at the very end? if not,get one from your doc on monday at that appt. you really do need to be keeping copies of all testing results since this IS a big part of your medical history,ya know? you should also,post op,get a copy of your surgery op notes from the hosptal along with anything else that is in your central medical file there too. i have done this with all my surgeries. some interesting reading. i also get all of my surgeon visit clinic notes as well and then keep everything from that surgery all together. its just kind of a complete history on you and that surgery from the initial visit thru the surgery and after too. this just helps if something should come up later or another doc wants to know stuff about you or that surgery. you have everything right there and can make a copy of it for them or they can make a copy off yours. always keep your own stuff and never ever let someone take it. like a doc or nurse? its your property. i started doing this just to be able to try and stay on top of everything i have had done. its been alot unfortunetly, for different reasons and on different body parts. please let me know how the appt goes. good luck linda,Marcia
    __________________
    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 11-23-2008, 05:31 AM   #11
    linda1217
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hi Marcia

    Thanks for the advise. I didn't realize I could get a copy of the doctor's clinical notes.
    But I will do so from now on. just waiting to see what this other DR says tomorrow.
    Keep ypu posted. Thanks for your interest
    Linda

     
    Old 11-23-2008, 04:50 PM   #12
    Janatee
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hello Linda1217, First good luck tomorrow, and all will be fine. Back in Aug. 07. I had 4 levels of ACDF. I also had what they call a cor-pectomy. I was in the hospital for 3 days, then home. I had to wear a hard Aspen Collar, and that I lived in for 2 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days..lol lol lol You remember things like that. I have screws and plates. I must say, the recovery although long, for me was not painful at all. Even after waking up after the 2 hour operation, the only pain I felt was in my shoulders, due to the procedure of taping down the shoulders to reach my neck, My operation was on the right side. My throat felt a bit swollen for some time after, but I lived with that. After a few months, I woke up one day and my throat was back to normal. The cords sound funny for awhile, but that also clears up. If you just do everything the doctors tell you to do while you are recovering, you will be fine in the long run. At times, my neck feels stiff, but with rest that goes away. I have to remember that it is not like it was, so I tend to take it easy. There are times that I will put my soft collar on while riding in the car, or just laying around. That seems to easy my neck soreness. Not that I have that all the time, but some days I feel like cleaning things a bit more vigorous then usual. And I suffer a bit....so take it easy. I go back to the docs about every 6 months to have my neck x ray, and so far all is healing well, and everything is in place... Keep the faith, you will do just fine. Let us know how you make out...Janatee

     
    Old 11-23-2008, 06:32 PM   #13
    linda1217
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Thanks Janatee!

    It's reasurring when you hear from someone who has been through it. Even though I'm going to have to have mine done through the back, I'm sure it'll all work out, but I am still very apprehensive. Just don't want to wake up with a breathing tube! Kinda silly the things that go through your mind. Anyway hopefully tomorrow I'll have some more reasuring news. let you know then.
    thanks
    Linda

     
    Old 11-24-2008, 04:02 PM   #14
    wimpette
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hi Linda,
    Had a two level anterior and three level posterior spinal fusion. Four years after the second surgery no one would realise I had so much hardware in my neck. The posterior approach is tougher from a recovery point of view, I had to take it slowly and was off work for four months then part time for another month. However, it was more than worth it. Both the surgeons you are seeing will give you a full and honest opinion - in the end, if you feel that surgery is inevitable, go to whomever you feel most comfortable with and are able to communicate with.

    Good luck, I was a train wreck when I knew I needed additional surgery but don't regret it.
    W

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 12:20 AM   #15
    My Gully
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    Re: Cervical Spine Fusion

    Hi Jantee, I would love to hear from you. I had a fusion on c6/7 and c4/5 in '95 and 96. I guess I was never symptom free. I had to wear a neck brace for a long time and because of my husband hating it I had to come out of the brace. guess that was good. anyway I now have vertigo, no one believed my eyes would go blurry and get spots in front of them but now it is worse. my new neurologist said he sould cut off a bit of bone on c6/c7 but it wil affect my voice. He also said there is no guarantees that it will work. What do you think? I am so sick of being 'sick'

    Last edited by My Gully; 01-05-2009 at 12:20 AM.

     
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