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How much of your neck can they possibly fuse??

grandmesamomggrandmesamom Posts: 181
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I was hoping to get some input on my continued cervical problems. They just won't quit! I had a ACDF C6 C7 after a violent cough ruptured the disc. In November of 08 I had a ACDF of C5 C6 after a spinal cord compression. I ended up with myelopathy and all the symptoms that go along with it. I have been in therapy since February and about 3 weeks ago i noticed my arms were more painful and getting weaker. I figured it was the therapy doing this. I went to the NS last week who was surprised at the increased weakness I had. He ordered an MRI and now it appears i have a bulging disc at C7 T1 with narrowing of the left neural foramen and a bulge at C3 c4 that is causing narrowing of the foramen and flattening of the left anterior canal. I must wait two weeks to see the NS to discuss my options. My internist feels I will need more surgery.
How much can the cervical spine take? I know the weakness is more alarming than the pain to the Drs. My Physiatrist even took me out of rehab because it was causing more pain.
Can they possibly fuse anymore and expect you to function? How many cervical vertebra can they fuse? I have followed all of the Drs directions and have not lifted or done anything strenuous. When is enough enough? I am only 47 and feel like i am totally falling apart. I do not anymore surgery but would like my arm weakness and the deep achiness to go away.
Has anyone ever had a similar experience? Will I ever see the light at the end of the tunnel? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated because i am totally numb right now. Thanks, Bethy


  • I am wainting to have a triple fusion and they tell me the forth will rupture later. There are only five and i am fourty. I feel the same way.
  • What kind of surgery are they talking about? I've had two levels fused w/hardware, and will be starting injections in a couple more levels soon. My uncle has 4 levels fused....and is miserable,and probably will be the rest of his life.So in answer to your question ,I don't know...I would like to. I understand that C2 is the level that affects your ability to turn your head...I guess as long as I can still do that...I'll be ok. If they can alleviate your pain...then it's worth it may be worth it to go for the surgery. But I am beginning ti think it's all a crap shoot....Hope you get some relief one way or another! Sagehen
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  • Bethy,
    I am fused from c3-c7 along with laminectomies from c3 through c7. I guess they could probably fuse all the c-spine, it would leave one with no movement but if it needed to be done, they probably can. I started with a two level fusion, and ended up with another two level 4 months later. I have some problems with c7-t1, but at this time nothing needs done, plus I am not able to return to my former job, so that keeps that area in shape. I am also only 47, hard to believe the last year and a half, gettin old

  • wow mark that is alot to be fused. Can you even turn your head and are you pain free? Do you have any weakness? When you say that you can't return too your same line of work, will you ever be able to work again? That is what scares me the most. I love my job and am doing it on a restricted basis now. Hopefully the Dr will come up with a conservative measure and not surgery. I think back to the 1st opinion I had, He thought I needed a fusion from C4 to C 6 even though C6C7 was fused. He then wanted to flip me over and do a foraminotomy. I picked the 2nd drs opinion because it wasn't as extensive. I hope i picked right!!!!
    You seem to have a good attitude mark. I hope I can remain hopeful.
    Thanks , Bethy
  • Bethy,
    Yes I have very good ROM, probably as good as my pre-surgery ROM in 07. I was a plumber and working over head and in cabnets is a no no. I also am limted to what I can lift and that will probably be forever. I don't have much pain, just the dang muscle spasms if I try to do to much , have to remind myself it has only been 4 weeks. As for weakness, it is to soon to tell, I lack endurance, but that will slowly come back. I know my legs feel better, but I am sure some arm strength has been lost. You have to keep hopeful, I look at where I was, and where I am now, it is much better now. As for the future, I have my ALJ hearing in May for SSDI, not sure how that will go, my NS seems to think I am done doing any work again, it has taken almost a year for the hearing, we shall see. I have found that recovery can be a long process, much longer than I want, but it has to be that way to heal as best as we can.
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  • I had a 4 level fusion with hardware done in Dec o8. I have good ROM. Still have pain in arms. I am on ssdi but not for the neck. My neck problems come from being morbid obeseity. I had gastric bypass in 06 and lost 184 pounds. Then all my neck problems started
  • congrats on the weight loss. Did it have anything to do with your neck? I am glad you have good ROM. Do they think your arms hurting will ever go away? Thats my major problem now.Why did they have to fuse so many on you ? What was your MRI like? Bethy
  • I too will be having a Posterior multi level C3 thru T1 with instrumentation along with the ACDF for C3-4, C4-5, C5-6 and C7-T1. Revision of C6-7. A week from today. All of this information is very good for me. I'm scared but I hurt so bad I can't stand it anymore. Looking forward to feeling better. This will be at least a 5 day stay. MY OS told me my range of motion would be very good. I will not be able to look over my shoulders but I will be able to look up and down which I have trouble with right now. I will be the bionic woman after this surgery. I had a prior ACDF of C5-6 and C6-7 in 2003. A screw went through and blew out my C7-T1 disc and one level didn't fuse. We do what we have to do to feel better. Living the way I am right now is terrible pain. I'm 44 years young and plan on a long life ahead with my grand babies. that's how I get through.
  • Rebecca millerRRebecca miller Posts: 9
    edited 11/19/2015 - 5:38 PM
    At 51 I also feel like I am falling apart! Twenty years ago I needed a C1-C2 neck fusion after a drunk drive caused nearly 6 mm of instability at this level. Now I have been told that I need a C2-T2, possibly T4 fusion. I know that this is the correct surgery and what I should be doing. My fingers are numb and I am really hunched over! My lower back hurts horribly! The orthopedic surgeon I spoke with told me that this surgery would help straighten me up which would In turn help ease the back pain. I saw a neurosurgeon who can do an ACDF at C3-C4, which would take away the numbness from my fingers but would not help my back issues. I have never been married and do not children. I am truly concerned about losing all of my independence such as my ability to drive etc! After this surgery every cervical vertebrae will be fused! I am very unsure of what to d. I am suffering from so much pain! It is sad that I was called by NJ Spine and Orthopedics. They are doing wonderful things with Artificial Disks but my insurance currently will not pay for them! What a bunch of crap! To think that doctors have all of this wonderful technology and they can't use it because some insurance company won't pay for it! They could fuse C3-C4, use the artificial disks at C4-C5, C5-C6 and fuse C6-C7! However, I am struck with having a surgery that is truly going to cripple, just in a different way! Does anyone have all f the cervical vertebrae fused, plus T1-T2? If so how are you and what are your limitations? I have been waiting to have another surgery because I am debating whether to go ahead with the 7-8fusion surgery, knowing it is what INEED or have the C3-C4 fusion and hope that the artificial disks will be approved soon? Surgeons have been using these disks for over 20 years! I don't know why the insurance companies don't realize that allowing this new technology to be used, folks should have less problems and pain! Less problems and pain means less physical therapy, less pain medication, less doctors appointments and I could go on and on! If my neck was better I would like to start a business or go back to work. Instead those things will probably never hopped! This drunk hit me just as I completed my MBA! This situation is sad! I feel for everyone with inal deformities and issues! If anyone can tell me something good about this situation, I would greatly appreciate! I have to do something soon! I have been told that the longer my hands are numb the more chance I may not get my normal feeling back! All for the sake of MONEY!
    God Bless
    Rebecca miller
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