C1-C2 Fusion. Anyone?

Has anyone had this fusion? What was your experience like and how is life now? The idea is terrifying....

Thank you


  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,340

    I don't normally get a chance to say this, but my fusion was lower than that...

    We do have members who have had C1-C2 fusions, hopefully they will jump in soon.  I understand that it limits range of motion (ROM) more than lower cervical fusions.  Otherwise, I can tell you that my cervical fusion surgeries weren't that bad.

    What specifically are you terrified of (note, fear of surgery, and especially spine surgery is normal)?
  • redbud64rredbud64 CaliforniaPosts: 29
    I may be having disc fusion C1-C2, I'm looking for recovery time and also, I am pretty active for 65, I do 60 minute cardio workouts 3x a week,  some high impact. I am afraid I won't have the range of motion after fusion. Any advice? Sorry, Bruce, I don't know much about fusions at all, so I thought I'd jump in on this post while it's still new. 
  • advertisement
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,340

    No need to apologize, I was just about to try to introduce the two of you to each other when I saw your discussion.
  • redbud64rredbud64 CaliforniaPosts: 29
    jc24, hello! Let's keep in touch, sounds like we are having the same problems! 
  • Hey guys, thanks! What symptoms do you have red bud? 

    I'm terrified of the lack of motion in my neck since 50% of your cervical motion comes from this joint. I'm also worried because it's so high up in the neck and it's riskier than lower down in the cervical spine. I'm only 20 and I worry about my quality of life.
  • advertisement
  • I am also terrified of this surgery. Would love to hear from anyone who's had the surgery and their experience. 
  • Don't worry your young jc24. In 2013 i fell off 7ft wall broke t7. Hospital missed the break worked 2months before they found it. Then in April 2016 i broke c1c2. It was a 8mm gap. Had a fusion done after halo attempt ripped out. I have done no pt and went back to work 4 months after surgery. I do have limited ROM. And have to take pain meds but work in a machine shop working 50 hours plus a week. 
  • Hi, 

    54 years old. I broke my C1 in a dirt bike accident in July 2016. After 2 months in a brace it was determined that there was no healing and I needed fusion surgery. I was absolutely gutted as even though I was still in a neck brace, I felt great and thought I was on the way to healing. 

    In Sept 2016, I had C0 (occiput) to C2 fusion with hardware. Three days before fusion surgery, 2 pins put in my skull to hang 35 pounds of weight for 3 days before the surgery in an attempt to pull my sinking head back up where it belongs. Laying on my back for 3 days while my head was in traction. In fusion surgery, 7 screws and a plate in the skull, 2 long screws in C1 and C2 each. Connecting the skull to the uninjured C2, 2 rods bridging it all.  I never smoked and with my natural bone harvested from my hip during the surgery, I fused solid and strong. I have very little range of motion (ROM) both left and right and up and down, it kinda sucks. I am basically one straight bone from my skull to my C2. Therefore, all the articulation starts from the C2/C3 joint on down. When I look down, the major bending starts at the c2/c3 then c3/c4 joint and so forth. 

    I am lucky to be semi-pain free. Some days, when I try "sightseeing", looking left and right, my neck muscles get tired and tight, I call it "lead head" as my head feels like it weighs 100 pounds on my neck. Other days, I forgot I had a neck injury.  However, again I am lucky to be pretty strong and feel I can do anything, including race my dirt bike again. I would do it, but the risk of hurting myself is just too great as riding motorcycles you often hit the ground and crash.

    Winter just ended and I logged more miles on my snowmobile then I ever have before. I can say even after 8 hours in the saddle of my sled riding quite aggressive, I still feel great.  I kick the hell out of riders younger than I, even with a fused neck.

    I write this to give some of you a glimmer of hope. There is life after fusion. Does it sucks to have this happen? Oh yea, no doubt. It's hard to turn left and right, difficult to work in tight spaces,  somedays your neck hurts like hell. Is life over as you know it?.. hell no. I am so bummed I can't race motocross any more. What hurts is I am strong enough to do it, however, it is simply too risky as there is many times you crash on a dirt bike. But I can do almost anything I want. Jet ski, snowmobile and even offroad if I am careful. I work all day, some days in the office, some days in the Bobcat (now outfitted with backup cameras).  Driving is a bit more difficult, but I have hand mirrors in the drivers area to help me see.

    I would give anything to take that day back. But I am extremely lucky. I was paralyzed from the neck down for about 10 minutes after the crash. I was lucky to get my feeling back in the life-flight.  Even more fortunate to have a successful fusion surgery and now, living fairly normal including a lot of fun times on my snowmobile and jet ski. When I get down and blue, I always remember really how lucky I am.

    Good luck..

Sign In or Join Us to comment.