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  • 2 yrs Post-Op C6 & C7 fusion w/plating

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    Old 06-04-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
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    ddetmer HB User
    2 yrs Post-Op C6 & C7 fusion w/plating

    Surgery went extremely well..immediate pain relief. Have recently (past several months) been experiencing some disturbing symptoms.

    At night - right hand falls completely asleep including fingers...pinky seems most affected - pain wakes me and takes several minutes for full function to return.

    In addition - left shoulder blade hurts to touch/light pressure...have done no activity that warrants this pain.

    Am wondering if any of these are side effects of prior disc damage and/or surgery?

    Any thoughts are welcomed.

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    Old 06-05-2009, 04:29 PM   #2
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    Re: 2 yrs Post-Op C6 & C7 fusion w/plating

    I had C5-C6 fused w/ plate, probably the same as you except a different level. My hand falls asleep quite a bit, mostly just on the pinky side. I have brought this up to my doctor and she said that this is usually caused by something in the elbow. I had an EMG to rule out an elbow issue. She said that problems with that nerve can sometimes come from C5-6 and C6-7.

    Are you still under a doctor's care? If it's causing you so much pain, maybe you should go in and have an exam. Minimally, you should have a neurological exam, and maybe if it continues you can get an EMG. How often does this happen?

    I'm not sure about the shoulder blade. I have major pain the shoulder blade area, but it is not sensitive to the touch. My pain is very deep, like in the middle of my body.

    Old 06-07-2009, 11:56 PM   #3
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    Re: 2 yrs Post-Op C6 & C7 fusion w/plating

    It is quite possible you have new bone ridges growing in the areas that were fixed, this is pretty common around the endplate.

    Old 06-08-2009, 09:29 AM   #4
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    Re: 2 yrs Post-Op C6 & C7 fusion w/plating

    at the very least, at this point anyway, just going back to see that surgeon and having this all evaluated really may show something new that could have popped up along the two years post op(believe me,alot can happen in two years). getting an MRI and a good c spine series x ray would give you the best overall info about this area and what could be possibly irritating or even compressing that ulnar nerve. that ulnar(c 8) nerve is what actually totally innervates that pinkie finger, so checking out that particular area(tho an MRI would indeed include all c spine levels too) would just make the most sense right now.

    its a start anyways to finding the main reason for the full hand involvement. you just need to start somewhere ya know? an EMG done, starting from your c spine on down that arm to your hand would also help to try and find just where that nerve is being compromised at too. it comes down to testing and ruling out and really loking at the overall symptoms. the only reason i mentioned the x ray part of this is for some odd reason, anything metal/titanium that they use with plating and screws for spinal stuff just somehow blurrs really badly upon MRI being done, but upon x ray and CT that hardware is just pristine. very very easily made out on film. so putting an MRI together with that x ray too would truely let the surgeon see just how that hardware placement still looks and then also looking at the more in depth MRI, ya know what i mean?

    sometimes for many possible reasons,the hardware can shift or a screw can loosen up in there too, among other things. or like NP mentioned, there could be something brand new going on up there too that would appear to be possibly affcting that c 8 either there, or down that arm area too. like i mentioned, just testing the more likely possibles here would eventually hopefully lead you to the culprit area. but DO make an appt with that NS who did your surgery and just have him eval you and the symptoms you are having and go from there. one thing i do when i have some strange new weirdness going on in my spine or from my cord injury,is just kind of keep a little journal of what i am feeling where and how long like the numbness lasted and any pain or other symptoms? just writing down all ongoing symptoms and showing this to your surgeon REALLY helps them in trying to determine just where a particular symptom may be stemming from. believe me, the more info you can give any doc when you have something going on, they REALLY do appreciate it and it also saves time and alot of hassle if they can rule something in or out at a visit only because of how your symptoms presented.

    but DO see your surgeon for that eval and a possible referral for the MRI and x ray or maybe just a CT would show enough? hard to say really but an MRI really sees much more deeply into the spinal areas than CT, but that hardware sure looks great with CT. but if this were me,i would want an MRI with contrast AND that c spine series. that type of x ray also does a good flex and extension type of pic too. that would help in showing whether or not you actually even fused up there too. sometimes, espescially with hardware, fusion can be very hard to truely see or detect. went thru that one myself. hopefully this is not something overly serious that can be remidied easily. but please do keep us posted. 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 06-16-2009, 10:11 PM   #5
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    Re: 2 yrs Post-Op C6 & C7 fusion w/plating

    Hi there,

    I know exactly what you mean. I have had extreme difficulties recovering from my ACDF one year ago this month. I just started physical therapy today after visiting a new Ortho Surgeon referred by my Neurologist. My arm pain did subside after surgery for a while but has steadily increased again and it falls asleep during the night like you said. I have a lot of pain in the shoulder areas as well. The Ortho said that I may have some scar tissue pressing on a nerve that is causing the pain at this point. The therapist also noted today that my discs area below the fusion is attempting very hard to compensate for the fusion itself and so my body is out of whack in general which is causing a lot of pain in those discs and muscles. I'm hoping to receive some true benefits from therapy and get back onto a good road to recovery after such a long road of disappointment.

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