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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: cervical fusion of c6 & c7


 Rog - Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:33 pm

I have had 2 fusions of c6 & c7 and neither one has fused correctly. The dr. now wants to do another surgery going through the back of my neck and putting in a rod with screws. Could you give me some information on this please. I am very scared and in pain.

Rog
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:26 am

User avatar Hello,
It sounds like the first two fusions were done with a bone autograft (using your own bone from the pelvic area to fuse the neck segment together).

Using screws and plates to stabilize the vertebrae is sometimes done when the previous method has failed (the bone fusion fails and allowing too much movement of the vertebral segment and thus more pain, numbness, and weakness).

It is important to note that spinal fusion or decompression does not guarantee decreased spine pain but the expectation should be to eliminate limb symptoms (weakness, pain, numbness, tingling, loss of reflexes).

It is also important to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with the surgeon before making your decision to have the surgery.

Good questions to ask the surgeon:
Will the hardware remain in my neck?
What could go wrong with the procedure?
How do you prevent this?
What result should I expect?
How long will my recovery be?
How long should the fusion last?
Will I need a neck brace?
Will I need therapy?
How many surgeries like this have you done and how have the outcomes been?

Keep us posted and take care.
 Rog - Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:24 pm

Thanks for the answer. I don't see the dr. again until April. That is when I am supposed to make my choice. The first 2 times I had the surgery he used bone from the bone bank and went in thru the front. He has put a peek fusion cage and a titaium clip in there. This time all they said was they wanted to put a rod in and go in thru the back of the neck instead. He said it would be more painful. My question is will this guarentee a fusion or no more pain. I am getting really sick of the pain everyday.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:13 pm

User avatar Hello,
The goal of surgery is to stabilize the neck and secondarily to provide pain relief. You will pain after the surgery but should gradually decrease post op to a level which is manageable. Discuss expected outcome with the surgeon.
Rehab after surgery will be important to control pain and developing functional arm and upper body use.
Keep us posted.

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