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Spinal fusion of C1-C6

Spine Health | Last Active: Mar 17 9:50pm | Replies (85)

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@kdj Fusing C1 through C6 as a first spine surgery sounds really extreme to me and I would not trust an opinion like this unless it was confirmed by several different surgeons at different medical institutions. You will loose most of your ability to move. All that will be left to turn your head will be between C1 and the skull which will put a lot of strain there. C1 & C2 do most of the head turning with some help from C3 and C4. You don't want a surgery that was done to profit the practice. It needs to be what is appropriate for you and in your best interest. Your best unbiased opinion will be from a place where the surgeons do not get bonuses for doing surgeries. That is how Mayo works. Everyone is an employee and they collect the same pay if they do or do not perform surgeries. No surgeon should push or scare a patient into a big expensive surgery. This is an important decision, so choose wisely when you pick a surgeon. I walked away from a pushy surgeon who owned a surgery center with 10 other surgeons. What is the cause of your spine problems? Have you tried any physical therapy? I know that can't fix arthritis, but it may be able to keep the spinal column aligned better and reduce pain. I had 6 different surgical opinions. The fist 5 missed understanding what the issues were and how it related to my symptoms. The 6th and only correct opinion was at Mayo, and I had a great recovery from a C5/C6 fusion. I wouldn't wish for another spine surgery, but if that is needed, I will be at Mayo.

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Replies to "@kdj Fusing C1 through C6 as a first spine surgery sounds really extreme to me and..."

I agree with you whole heartily. My first neck c3-c5 was done over 20 years ago. I heard great things about the doc I used. He had many published articles and even wrote a boo. In fact a year prior he fused my lumbar ant L4-5 and I had great results. So I went with the same surgeon.

Bad mistake, his specialty was lumbar spines, not neck. And he was an arrogant ass who acted like it was no big deal. We’ll 22 years later the screws became loose, causing horrible bone and soft tissue infections with multiple bone cysts. Eventually the plates became loose too and the whole titanium mess fell into my throat and sliced my esophagus.

Then to top it off my primary care doctor was an even bigger idiot. I complained about this area for over a year, possibly more. And he kept telling me to go to physical therapy, which probably would have killed me. I asked for an mri the entire time and he said my insurance would not pay for it unless I went to PT. That I found out is a lie. Please don’t listen to that as I did.

At the first hospital ER I went to the did exploratory surgery and removed the hardware from my neck. They couldn’t fix the tear in my esophagus and told me I may never swallow again. A week later a different ENT looked in on me and cut open my incisions to find more infections.

Thank god for this women! She said you need to get out of here and proceeded to have me transferred to UC Davis hospital under the leadership of the head thoracic surgeon there. He was a very intense, intelligent gentleman who gathered a team of the top doctors there. 3 more surgeries later they decided to reconstruct my neck using a graph called a flap from my thigh. I’m told there are only a handful of surgeons in the country who do this surgery. It took 10 hours in the OR. They actually connect blood vessels to the graph to reconstruct my neck.

So now I’ve lost 50% of the bone in my neck. I’m looking at a final surgery to stabilize my neck from C2 to T2..

So many things happened that I should of caught along the way. The idiot surgeon was not a quality neck surgeon, even though he was a good low back surgeon. All the surgeons from the past year agreed on one thing. That it was the negligence or the original surgeon that caused these problems. And would you believe I had 3 opinions. Pay attention to social media and what people say about doctors and surgeons. I didn’t have that option 22 years ago.

Take matters into your own hand and research as much as possible. Credentials, specialties AND word from patients on social media.

I notice no one really mentioned doctors names here so I won’t but he was a Sacramento based surgeon wh has moved on to Beverly Hills LOL! His initials are PXM.