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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

  • Cervical Hardware Problem

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    Old 07-13-2009, 03:14 PM   #1
    nutti883
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    Angry Cervical Hardware Problem

    Hi everyone! I have been a member since 2006, but have not posted alot. I need to see if anyone can answer my questions? I had left rotator cuff surgery on 7/7/09. I was having difficulty breathing and swallowing after i got home and the hospital told me to go to one of the urgent care centers to get my oxygen levels checked. The doctor took a chest xray to rule out anything wrong with my lungs due to the anesthia. i had a cervical fusion at c5-6/c6-7 5 1/2 yrs ago. When the doctor looked at the xray, he noticed that the plate in my neck is broken in two!!!! i have had a lot of extreme pain in my neck the last couple months but my MRI in January showed everything was ok, so didnt think too much about it. The pain also includes severe muscle cramping from right under my hairline down and around my shoulder blades. I have also had trouble swallowing since the surgery was done in 2003. It seems like things get stuck on the right side of my neck a lot, right under where my scar is. I have alsoMy neuro scheduled a cat scan for tomorrow.

    Now for my questions: Do they have to do surgery for broken hardware?
    I had a lot of pain from the 1st surgery and don't look forward to it again.

    If they have to remove or replace the hardware, is the recovery time the same as the original surgery?

    Has this happened to anyone else? What causes it? In addition to the rotator cuff surgery last week, I also had a 360 degree fusion on L4-S1 on May 21. I was in surgery for 8 hours!! I was turned every which way but loose. Could the intubation cause the plate to break?

    Thanks for reading and looking forward to your replies,

    Tami

    C5-6 / C6-7 ruptured Nov 2003
    Cervical fusion December 2003
    Diagnosed Deg Disc/Joint Disease Jan 2004
    Right Rotator Cuff repair April 2007
    Lumbar Fusion L4-5 / L5-S1 May 21, 2009
    Left Rotator Cuff repair July 7., 2009

    Last edited by nutti883; 08-06-2009 at 09:18 AM. Reason: 1

     
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    Old 07-14-2009, 05:32 AM   #2
    feelbad
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    Re: Cervical Hardware Problem

    wow,you have been thru alot here lately haven't you? i too had my c spine surgeries back in 2001 and my rotator done in 08,so i can relate to those two. the rotator was by far the worst of the worst for me.

    one thing you just need to know, anything having to do wih actual hardware showing up really well upon MRI is kind of iffy at best just because any metal tends to blurr alot. a CT and x ray both show a very very clear picture of it tho. it could actually have been broken when you had that MRI but it just did not show it. thats just one big possibility considering your pain was there at that time and before, ya know?

    another thing here, did you tell both of your anesthesiologists that you actually had that plate and screws in there pre op? believe me they DO need to know anytime you have had ANY c spine surgeries done. espescially with any hardware placement since they have to tip your head back at a particular angle just to be able to even intubate you. they have to be able to viualize the vocal cords so they can slide the tube in correctly. if they were not aware of this, they could possibly have moved it the wrong way or it could have already had some sort of weakening or crack already and that could have just been the straw that broke, ya know what i mean? but i personally would not completely trust that MRI myself, just given how bad that blurr can be at times. i have just seen what my own plate and screws look like on all my MRIs, everything is a blurr there. did that MRI show any other findings that could also be causing your pain? i do know just even having that hardware there it can be rather difficult to really see certain things under it and also kind of surrounding it at times too.

    i would think that they would indeed have to try and fix that but then again i am not a surgeon either. you may have some different options but i cannot imagine them wanting to leave that like it is right now either ya know? if you do have a nice solid fusion there, they may choose to just remove it at this point and not place anything back in to replace it too. like i said,alot of possibles here. i think once they can obatin the CT results they may know a bit more about just what your real options are. sorry i cannot really help with that part.

    one good thing tho,if you are fused in there,i would think your overall pain and recovery would be much less since they are not doing the decompression part of this this time around. they simply would be either removing and leaving it out or replacing just the hardware. whether they choose to replace at all i would think would also depend upon whether or not this would be stable given the vertebraes already have had screw holes in them, you know what i mean?

    but depnding upon what other possible findings that MRI showed could also be a factor here too. did you obtain a copy of that report for your own records? if not i would obtain one now just to go thru it yourself. one thing about espescially specialists here is that they do NOT always even tell you everything that is a hard finding in any given rad report. just what they 'feel" is pertinent to the issue they are treating you for. kinda sick, but unfortuently it happens way too often.

    i hope this helped some. please let me know just what you find out. 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 07-14-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
    nutti883
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    Re: Cervical Hardware Problem

    Thank you Marcia for your wonderful advice!! I had my CT scan today. I probably won't hear anything from the neuro for a couple days. One good thing is that I have a good friend that works at his office. So if anything, I can ask her about it on Thursday, we play pool together. Well,,,she plays, I watch for now.

    I told the radiological tech about what some people were telling me about the xray could just have been distorted. She told me that after the scan. I had asked her if she could see anything and she said of course she couldn't tell me anything but that an xray wouldn't be distorted enough to show a space if there wasn't one, so that kind of told me something.

    In January, I had made an appt because I had been having a lot of pain in my neck and muscles and much more pain in my lower back. I had been going to the pain ctr for a couple of years and getting shots of steroids and botox and RF Ablasions in my neck and lower back. I finally got to the point that I felt all they were doing was trying to mask the symptoms instead of fixing the problem. I had MRIs of my cervical, lumbar and left shoulder. All he said was that there was a solid fusion in my neck.

    I am really at my wits end right now. I have already been off work for 8 weeks with my back and shoulder. My next neuro appt as of right now is August 19. I have already used up most of my FMLA leave and most of my 90% paid leave. If I have to be off now due to another surgery, I will probably lose my job and my insurance. We can't survive on disability or without my insurance. Luckily, I have very good insurance from where I work.

    I did tell them on both surgeries that I had the cervical fusion. It is always one of the first things I tell them cause it scares me to death. I know it probably shouldn't but it does.

    They say God only gives you as much as you can handle, but I think He has me confused with someone else!!!

    I will let you know what the neuro says...

    Thanks...Tami

     
    Old 07-15-2009, 08:18 AM   #4
    feelbad
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    Re: Cervical Hardware Problem

    yes,please do keep me posted. i just wanted to mention only because it sounds like you misunderstood about that blurring? it is NOT the x rays and CTs that tend to blurr with hardware(they look amazingly clear) it is that MRI where metal/hardware is located in/on the spine that actually can blurr, at times pretty badly too. just wanted to make sure you got that one right. please let me know what you find out. good luck tami, 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 08-06-2009, 09:12 AM   #5
    nutti883
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    Location: Decatur, Il
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    Angry Re: Cervical Hardware Problem

    Hey Marcia...wanted to update you on the problem with my hardware. Apparently, C6-7 is not fused allowing for movement in the hardware which over time caused it to break in two. I will definitely have to have it fixed with another fusion surgery. My neuro did some investigating and found that it broke sometime between June and November 2008. The xray from June it was not broken. The xray from November shows it is broken. I have been to numerous doctors and pain centers in the past 5 1/2 years complaining that my neck STILL hurt after the surgery. I have been on pain killers, had countless xrays, ct and mri scans, had epidurals, rf ablasions and probably a lot of things that I can't even remember. What makes me so angry is that not one of these doctors noticed that it was not fused. How is that possible? Anyway, I can't have anything done until after the first of the year or later due to the fact that I have exhausted all of my Federal Medical Leave because of my lumbar fusion in May. So I guess, I have to deal with it a while longer. Tami

    C5-6 / C6-7 ruptured Nov 2003
    Cervical fusion December 2003
    Diagnosed Deg Disc/Joint Disease Jan 2004
    Right Rotator Cuff repair April 2007
    Lumbar Fusion L4-5 / L5-S1 May 21, 2009
    Left Rotator Cuff repair July 7., 2009

    Last edited by nutti883; 08-06-2009 at 09:20 AM. Reason: to add info

     
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