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Extending a posterior fusion of C3-7 to C3-T1



  • joowee - what exactly did you have done on your first and second surgery?  What symptoms did you have that led to the second surgery?   I have the nerve pain in my arms and shoulders that my surgeon said relates to C7-T1.  I also have a constant vice grip kind of pain in my entire neck, lots of snapping at the top of the fusion and cervical headaches.  Makes me wonder if some of the issues are from the top of the fusion, or could it be from spinal cord compression at C7-T1.  Would hate to have C7-T1 fused and still have issues.  

  • @purpletrail

        Your symptoms do sound similar to mine and I have issue above and below. I have problem at c3/4 and c7/t1 so my surgery will be to extend it from c4-7 to c3-t1.  I get alot of pulling feeling then a snap .I have ringing in my left ear that's constant..I get alot of headaches too as well as shoulder pain ..but I'm also having shoulder problems so some of that pain is from that.  I have numbness in my left ear and jaw line if I tilt my head slightly to the left..I describe my neck pain as if someone struck me with a hatchet and just left it. I also get alot of upper back and shoulder blade pain too..that I believe is coming from c7/t1 .I dont have alot of arm pain mainly weakness again in my hands that what your getting?

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  • Wow, my symptoms are very similar to yours.  My neurosurgeon feels that the pain going into my shoulders and sharp pain under the shoulder blades is from C7-T1.  I also get weird numbness and tingling up the back of my head and in the side of my face.  I have gotten used to the ringing in my left ear, just like your situation. Yours does sound more intense with the hatchet in the neck. Quite the visual on that one! My biggest problems are the nerve pain that progresses to burning and the vice grip feeling on my entire neck.  The grabbing pain is what starts to go up my head and into a headache.  I also have a torn rotator cuff that was beyond repair.  Hadn't been much of a problem lately.  I did a lot of physical therapy to get back strength and range of motion.  I get the burning nerve pain into my shoulders when I have done too much.  I usually don't know that I have done too much until after the fact.  I've cut way back on work , driving and anything physical.  It's like your world just keeps getting smaller. I guess that's good motivation to try to get it fixed.  

  • @purpletrail

      Yes I know what you mean about your world gets smaller and smaller. You do sound alot like me. I also get intense pressure like feeling with pain at the base of my skull on the left side too . And like you I have pain that can run up the back of my head over the top and settles around my left eye. I was told that is cervical neuralgia. But I will say the pressure type pain at the base of my skull is by far my worse part of this at times even makes it hard to rest my head against anything..that's how bad it can get at times..I'm hoping once I have surgery all that nastiness will go away.

  • I am fused C2-T1 after 4 surgeries that started with a anterior C6-C7 fusion, then anterior C4-7, then posterior C3-T-1, then C2-T1. I hate to say this, but  unfortunately, I still have many of the symptoms described here. The  daily headache at the base of my skull on the left and the pressure within my neck are the worst. I’m used to the tingling & numbness, but still not to the constant dropping of things & throwing things across the room. Going up to C2 was a game changer for me due to the loss of ROM. I had the last surgery in Jan of 2017, and the numbness is already back as is burning shoulder blades & sharp shooting pain into my left arm, burning at the base of my skull, and I just become overwhelmed with too much motion going on around me. My experience has been that nothing has made anything better except for the very 1st surgery that pulled a chunk of my disc matter out of the main exit for the left nerve that is was completely blocking. It has been downhill since then.     

    The posterior revision surgery going up to C2, they did pull the rods, but it had only been a few months. That last surgery was hands down easier to handle than the 3rd one C3-T1. 

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  • Yikes.  Your experience is sure sobering.  Can I ask what led to your spine issues?  My last surgery of posterior C3-C7 held for 11 years.  I still had pain, but it was manageable. I can't imagine going through all of this and still experiencing the same issues.  I can only imagine your frustration. Are your doctors providing you with any additional options, or do they feel that medication is the best route? Do they have any idea what is causing the continued nerve pain?  Thank you for providing me with your experience.  Definitely gives me pause.   

  • Yikes is right @stillhummingbird

       I had 3 surgeries pretty close together but like purple though I still had pain it was manageable for 13 1/2 years before I started having issues again about a year and a half ago. I'm sorry stillhumming you havent been as lucky. I did and still do have issues with dropping things as I have poor fine motor in my hands ever since my original surgery though that was brought on more from left over damage from cord compression more then anything. I do need more surgery now though to extend mine from c4-7 to c3-t1. I do think most of us that have had multiple surgeries do have some left over pain. My surgeries weren't to alleviate my pain so I understood from the get go that may still be around. 

     Stillhummingbird how many years between your first and last one. May I ask what also happen ? My c4 collapsed soon after my first first was a anterior c5-7  then within a year and a half I had a second anterior to add c4 then 1 week later the posterior from c4-7.  But I suffer from cord compression and your sounds more nerve compression atleast at first.

      Again I'm so sorry your having such a ruff time.

  • I ice my neck constantly.  Heat makes it worse.  Cooler with ice packs (neck wrap) in the car.  Ice,ice baby.  Keeps me off the opiods.  

  • @purpletrail

      Lol...I'm a ice ice baby has always worked better for me and to me feels so good..heat doesnt me nothing nicer them cold cooling  feeling on a upper back that's screaming.

  • Ice for me too!  & CBD oil & arnica. 

    @ purple & Boo- I struggle with lower back issues following being rear ended,  but while doing some heavy lifting, my C4-7 ruptured.  The problem was that the C6-7 disc material broke into pieces and a chunk of it got lodged into main nerve exit on my left side.  It was lodged in there & blocking it completely.  It was excruciating. So, the first surgery was to go in & take that out, & they inserted a plate. From there it was a series of broken hardware, hardware pullout, & general disaster of my spine. 

    Nuero and ortho surgeons alike said they did not know if surgery would relieve my pain. They believe much was done with the initial injury & is now permanent. They have different ideas about how to help with pain, such as botox injections and as the pain management doctor said, "If I had your neck and back, I'd be depressed too." So, I take antidepressants, but can't do opioids.  I'm going to try acupuncture soon, and wish I could continue PT, simply for the massage/muscle work.  I found that to be very beneficial.  My situation is still political which complicates everything. 

    My first surgery was 10/2013- Anterior C6-C7 - Plate & screws

    2nd 8/2014 - Anterior C4-C6 Cages (cages broke)

    3rd  7/2016 - Posterior C3-T1 (Hardware pulled out at C3 C4 & my head was balancing in a dangerous position)

    Final 1/2017 - Posterior Revision C2-T1  & I finally fused. 

    @Boo - so, approx 5 years between 1st & last. 

    The surgeries themselves where hard on my body. 

    Where do you guys live? I am in Southern Ca.

    Thanks for sharing your story.  I feel for you and wish you the best in your upcoming decisions & treatments. 



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