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    Old 04-01-2011, 05:52 PM   #16
    jennybyc
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Jude....can I ask how far your brother can turn his head?

    I grew up in Canada and am very aware that different docs may use different terms to describe the same procedure and while some say they are fusing you starting at C2, they don't actually fuse the C2 bone in place but start the procedure there. With a fusion starting at C3, you lose about 50% and can still turn your head from side to side, can look up somewhat and almost put your chin on your chest. By fusing C3 to 4 and cleaning up the junction between the C2 and 3, it stops the movement of one of the vertebra and so stops the pain. But no actual bone is placed between 2 and 3.

    Another possibility is that he is fusing using clips on the spinous process, then what you describe as being able to go home and back to work so fast makes sense. This is a new procedure that has clips attached to the back of the bone(the part that makes our spine that looks like a stegasaurus) and then screwed into the next bone going upward or downward, depending on where they start. Since this part of the bone sticks up, there is far less cutting and the muscles really aren't touched. It is just under the skin, really.

    But I know from my own 2 posterior surgeries and talking to others with the same procedures, that we are missing something here. It takes weeks to months for the bone of a fusion to grow into the fused area and you need a brace and lots of time to heal. But a stabilization with clips and no bone grafts is different and a much easier surgery.

    My surgery involved 2 long screws in each vertebra and then they are attached to long rods which are screwed into alignment. I had an open incision that is 8" long. So you can see why I wouldn't be able to return to work in a week. I didn't even get the skin staples out for 15 days. So that is why I'm wondering if this is done using clips. You would have better movement afterward but yet, it would severely limit the ability of C2 to move against C3. The spinous process stops at C2.

    I made myself learn as much as I could about spine surgery after my 2 operations and I am worried when someone isn't clear about what is being done and is told they can go back to work so fast. Either your doc is a jerk or he is doing something that may have the same effect as a fusion but is not a traditional bony fusion. A clip fusion would fit that bill.

    Does any of that sound familiar? I just don't want you waking up on 4-12 and finding out you had something done that you had no idea about. I remember being put under for a simple knee scope surgery...Band Aid surgery and you go home the same day.....and I woke up in a full leg cast and an open joint surgery with the doc having done all sorts of thing to the inside of my knee. Had to spend 4 days in the hospital and I hadn't arranged any childcare and really made my husband angry. I never would have agreed to the surgery if I had known what he might do while I was out. Messed up my knee for the rest of my life.

    So I now want to know exactly what they are doing in surgery. Traditional surgery involves putting bone grafts in between the vertebrae, sometimes in cages or rings. It is treated with bovine morphogenic protein to make it grow fast and you have to keep the neck still while it grows. And the bones are also held together by plates or rods to further give them strength. It takes a good 6 weeks for the screws to heal in place too. But you are talking about going back to work in 1 week and that is unheard of......unless you are having a different type of surgery.

    I hope for your sake you are. Either that, or you have a doc who is not being honest and no one wants to think that.

    Please don't get defensive....we care a lot about everyone here and just want to know what on earth is going on when we hear things that are so different from anything we've ever heard before. You have no idea the horror stories we've heard here. People die from these surgeries or are paralyzed for life. The pain management boards are filled with people who had bad spine surgeries.The entire field of pain management didn't exist until more and more people started to have spine surgery. And the success rate for eliminating pain is only 30%....the surgery may be a success but that doesn't mean you'll be out of pain. Go to the PM boards and ask around.

    We hate it when others end up in pain and I know my reason for being here is to make sure no one else ends up in my shoes or in pain for the rest of their lives. We care probably more than the spine surgeons do. We don't make money on anyone. We are here, free, because we care.

    gentle hugs..............Jenny

     
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    Old 04-02-2011, 08:59 AM   #17
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Hi Jenny,
    I think Jude said she got a paper saying these crazy things and she thought it was strange too. I dont remember her saying her doctor told her.
    Just my 2 cents. Thanks Jenny for all the info, I dont know what I would have done without your kindness.

     
    Old 04-07-2011, 07:59 AM   #18
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    To anyone:

    I am almost 6 months post surgery anterior fusion of C2-C4 and posterior hardware added to C2-C5 to raise head. I am completely fused from C2-T3.

    When I wake up in the morning I feel so weak. I cant even push the covers off of me with my hands. I have to kick them off with my legs. I also have so much pain in my shoulders, chest and collar bone areas. I thought at first this was probably due to wearing the collar for 4 months but Ive been out for 1 1/2 months now but still have so much pain. I cannot even lift my arms above my head anymore (since the surgery). I was wondering if anyone else has experienced any of these things.
    Thanks,
    Saucer

     
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    Old 04-07-2011, 08:10 AM   #19
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Have you tried different pillows? After my ACDF I had to buy around 7 different pillows (some expensive ) so I obtained a comfort level that had me waking up less sore, less headaches, etc. Last Christmas my parents bought us the sleep number bed and it improved my neck and back comfort.
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    Old 04-07-2011, 08:15 AM   #20
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
    Have you tried different pillows? After my ACDF I had to buy around 7 different pillows (some expensive ) so I obtained a comfort level that had me waking up less sore, less headaches, etc. Last Christmas my parents bought us the sleep number bed and it improved my neck and back comfort.
    Thanks for answering AZ, Yes I have 5 different pillows. Before the surgery I had a flat pillow as I couldnt hold up my head it was good for me. After the surgery I needed a thicker one. I switch between a couple of them throughout the night. I guess I need to know is this common with the spinal fusion I have? A sleep number bed will help but the pain is permanant?

     
    Old 04-07-2011, 08:15 AM   #21
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Hi Saucer....someone posted here(and I agree with it) that for as long as you had the brace on, it will take that long to get the strength back in your neck. You had it on for 4 months so I would expect trouble for at least another 4 months until the muscles grow strong enough. You have 2 1/2 months more before you will have good muscle action and pain relief......sorry to say.

    Are you getting any PT for your neck?

    Jenny

     
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    Old 04-07-2011, 08:21 AM   #22
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jennybyc View Post
    Hi Saucer....someone posted here(and I agree with it) that for as long as you had the brace on, it will take that long to get the strength back in your neck. You had it on for 4 months so I would expect trouble for at least another 4 months until the muscles grow strong enough. You have 2 1/2 months more before you will have good muscle action and pain relief......sorry to say.

    Are you getting any PT for your neck?

    Jenny
    Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for the answer. No PT for neck since I have atrofied (sp) long ligaments in my neck. The muscles are so hard from the surgery in 94 that an accupuncturist couldnt get needles in. I notice just touching my chest around the collar bone is so painful. Believe I will check with doctor to see what he thinks. So many xrays, ct scans mri's..........
    Thanks,
    Saucer

     
    Old 04-07-2011, 08:30 AM   #23
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Yes, the recovery sheet was one that I pulled off the neurosurgery website. That is the one that said you could possibly return to work after one week if you were out of the collar and off the pain meds during the day. The surgery will only be pedicle screws and rods with decompression at c2/c3. No other procedures will be done. So it will be screws at 2,3,4,5 and then the rod and caps. It is posterior.

    I do realize that it takes time for the bone to fuse and they will be using a growth stimulator in the mix when they pack the bone around the screws etc.

    My son is a designer for one of the companies that make the screws, hardware and instruments for spinal surgery and we have been over the surgery in detail. He has observed some of the surgeries as well and we have looked at models and instruments and pedicle screws etc. I have been over the details with the NS and I have had feedback from many sources as well.

    It was a hard decision to make to be sure. I appreciate so much reading the posts on the board here! It is scheduled for Apr. 20th but may get pushed back to the 27th depending on whether or not Kaiser drags their feet with the approval.

    I will keep you all posted.

     
    Old 04-07-2011, 08:36 AM   #24
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jude4340 View Post
    Yes, the recovery sheet was one that I pulled off the neurosurgery website. That is the one that said you could possibly return to work after one week if you were out of the collar and off the pain meds during the day. The surgery will only be pedicle screws and rods with decompression at c2/c3. No other procedures will be done. So it will be screws at 2,3,4,5 and then the rod and caps. It is posterior.

    I do realize that it takes time for the bone to fuse and they will be using a growth stimulator in the mix when they pack the bone around the screws etc.

    My son is a designer for one of the companies that make the screws, hardware and instruments for spinal surgery and we have been over the surgery in detail. He has observed some of the surgeries as well and we have looked at models and instruments and pedicle screws etc. I have been over the details with the NS and I have had feedback from many sources as well.

    It was a hard decision to make to be sure. I appreciate so much reading the posts on the board here! It is scheduled for Apr. 20th but may get pushed back to the 27th depending on whether or not Kaiser drags their feet with the approval.

    I will keep you all posted.
    Hi Jude,
    Kaiser? Kaiser did both of my surgeries. I dont know what state you live in but Im in California. 1994 surgery done in Fontana and 2010 done by the head of NS in Los Angeles.
    Your surgery sounds a lot like mine. Problem I have is the whole body numbness. No guarantees as to when or if the feeling will come back.
    Good Luck,
    Saucer

     
    Old 04-07-2011, 08:56 AM   #25
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    I found after my ACDF it took 3 mo after I was out of the collar to wake up more comfortable. Would your doctors consider EMG /nerve testing? Maybe with you laying down flat as you would at home they can look for any nerve impulses that aren't normal? The weakness is more of a concern then moring pain would be. Are you better, strength wise, after you are up and how long does it take for you to start feeling better?

    Because I have lumbar problems as well the sleep number bed has helped tremendously. I find I can sleep on my back, pillow under the knees, and remain in that position some nights for 4 or 5 hours. The right pillow combination in conjunction with the bed have increased my ability to sleep 4 hr minimum.
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    Old 04-07-2011, 09:56 AM   #26
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
    I found after my ACDF it took 3 mo after I was out of the collar to wake up more comfortable. Would your doctors consider EMG /nerve testing? Maybe with you laying down flat as you would at home they can look for any nerve impulses that aren't normal? The weakness is more of a concern then moring pain would be. Are you better, strength wise, after you are up and how long does it take for you to start feeling better?

    Because I have lumbar problems as well the sleep number bed has helped tremendously. I find I can sleep on my back, pillow under the knees, and remain in that position some nights for 4 or 5 hours. The right pillow combination in conjunction with the bed have increased my ability to sleep 4 hr minimum.
    Hi AZ,
    I believe he is waiting for me "to heal" before he does nerve study. He is perplexed at the numbness as I am more numb now than before the surgery.
    Yes I am less weak after a while of being up and moving around.
    After my surgery (while in the hospital) I would wake up in the same position I fell asleep in, sometimes this still happenes. It is very weird as I am a toss and turner. That sleep number bed is sounding better and better. My brother just bought one and loves it too.
    Thanks for the information.

    Saucer

     
    Old 04-29-2011, 05:47 PM   #27
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Well Hello everyone! I am a week and a half out of surgery (apr.20th). C2 - C5with decompression at 2-3. Pedicle screws and rods and a bone maitrix/growth hormone packed around the screws. The first two or three days was pretty brutal but now I am completely off my pain meds, walking in the park for the last three days. I can't believe how well I am doing.

    The hard collar is annoying. The doc said six weeks in the collar but after about two weeks if I am doing well I may be able to take it off to sleep.

    I am getting about 4 - 6 hrs of sleep a night and a long nap in the afternoon.

    I am on skelaxin and tylenol but I only need to take it two or three times a day.

    Of course the success of the surgery is still to be determined because 1. I am still having some surgical pain and 2. I am in a hard collar. But I am feeling pretty good and optimistic.

    I get my staples out on next Wed.

     
    Old 04-29-2011, 05:50 PM   #28
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    Wow WTG Jude. Be careful taking off collar. Dr said IF I could sleep only on back I could take off to sleep, but no way to guarentee that. I had it on for 4 months.
    So happy for you.
    Saucer

     
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    Old 04-29-2011, 05:56 PM   #29
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    There is no way I could sleep on my back so if that is a condition for me then I guess I am going to have to leave it on. Right now I prop up all these pillows so I can sleep sorta upright like a chaise lounge. Once I wake up I HAVE to get up and walk about a few minutes and rearrange everything. Getting comfy is a lot of work!

    The other thing is that my stomach and appetite are just starting to charge up again but I think getting off the narcotics has helped. I can't eat anything the least bit spicey.

    I also get chilled really really easily.

     
    Old 04-29-2011, 07:51 PM   #30
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    Re: posterior fusion c2-c5

    And if you still have pain, taking pain medications is okay. Sometimes just once a day when experiencing a rise in pain.
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