Does any one have problems with fusion surgery in the neck?

Posted by mareanne @mareanne, Nov 5, 2018

I had neck surgery fusion with screws and plate and i have popping sounds all the time and i can not turn to the right. Does any one have the same problem and should i have another surgery. I went to therapy alot but it does not work. I have been on pain meds for 11 years and off for 4 i did not want to be hook on them. I found out that i rather be in pain then being on them. I have scoliosis with rods in my back i already wrote in the blog earlier about that. Has any one had these plate taken out of neck?.

@mareanne My husband has had his neck fused from C 3 to C 7. His neurosurgeon explained the surgery to us as this :The plates and screws cannot come out. New bone grows over them which is what essentially is then the fusion. Limited movement in the neck is to be expected.
How long ago was your surgery and have you spoken to your doctor with your concerns?

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@mareanne
I had cervical surgery at the end of February. I was having HORRIFIC headaches as well as pain across the neck and dowe my left arm.
The neurosurgeon suggested disk replacement surgery. He said patients with fusion surgeries normally need additional surgery down the line. It has something to do with the weight caused by the fusion. It's a domino effect.
So far the disk replacements have worked out very well! All the issues I had are gone. With PT, I have gotten back full range of motion. I am a tiny bit stiff in turning my neck but nothing I can't live with.

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Please tell us more about your disk replacement surgery. I feel like that is going to be the only thing that will solve the issues that I am having. What was the recovery and who did your surgery? thanks

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@terri672

Please tell us more about your disk replacement surgery. I feel like that is going to be the only thing that will solve the issues that I am having. What was the recovery and who did your surgery? thanks

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@terri672
As I said in my previous post, the disc replacement was the suggestion of my surgeon. He said on occasion, it does not work and a fusion needs to be done.
The surgery was done in a hospital. I was an outpatient although sometimes, if done late in the day, patients could stay overnight.
The surgery is done under general anesthesia. An incision about 2 inches was made in my neck. He did it in a crease to hide it. The opening was glued and taped. There are no plares or screws. I really can't explain the artificial discs. Besides, there might be many brands.
I was able to shower starting the next day but it had to be covered with plastic wrap and surgical tape.
I saw the surgeon twice after along with an xray. I only needed pain meds the first couple of days. I couldn't bend, lift, twist, overextend my neck because of the need for the artificial discs to take hold. Ineeded help with those things.
I was basically healed by week 8, at which time I had to go to PT to strengthen my neck and work on range of motion.
I really found this to be an easy surgery to recover from. However, my therapist said complete healing takes several months. Of course, we all heal at different rates.
I lived in Central Florida. My neurosurgeon is outside of Tampa in a town called Lutz.
In my research, I found out the spinal surgery can be done by an orthopedic surgeon or neuro surgeon. It was my decision to go with a neurosurgeon since the cervical is so close, in my estimation, to the brain. I wanted someone experienced in both.
Hope this helps.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar

@terri672
As I said in my previous post, the disc replacement was the suggestion of my surgeon. He said on occasion, it does not work and a fusion needs to be done.
The surgery was done in a hospital. I was an outpatient although sometimes, if done late in the day, patients could stay overnight.
The surgery is done under general anesthesia. An incision about 2 inches was made in my neck. He did it in a crease to hide it. The opening was glued and taped. There are no plares or screws. I really can't explain the artificial discs. Besides, there might be many brands.
I was able to shower starting the next day but it had to be covered with plastic wrap and surgical tape.
I saw the surgeon twice after along with an xray. I only needed pain meds the first couple of days. I couldn't bend, lift, twist, overextend my neck because of the need for the artificial discs to take hold. Ineeded help with those things.
I was basically healed by week 8, at which time I had to go to PT to strengthen my neck and work on range of motion.
I really found this to be an easy surgery to recover from. However, my therapist said complete healing takes several months. Of course, we all heal at different rates.
I lived in Central Florida. My neurosurgeon is outside of Tampa in a town called Lutz.
In my research, I found out the spinal surgery can be done by an orthopedic surgeon or neuro surgeon. It was my decision to go with a neurosurgeon since the cervical is so close, in my estimation, to the brain. I wanted someone experienced in both.
Hope this helps.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Thank you for writing such a detailed response. I am having cervical surgery NEXT summer and it helps to read about someone else's experiences.

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@mareanne how was u able to get off pain meds as I've been on for 12 years now ,I'm wanting off they no longer help with my back and neck and autiritus anymore,

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I have scoliosis and had many back surgeries with fusion in my young teens (3) and late twenties (2) install a stainless steel rod to hold corrections. No more back surgeries for me, but have been experiencing what seems to be a very, very stiff neck (which effects everything I try to do) for the past 5 days. I have tried to apply arthritis cream to my neck and had to resort to taking 800 milligram tablets of ibuprofen especially for last 3days. I hate taking pain meds of any kind but am at a loss on what to do. I absolutely can’t recall doing anything to bring this on. I have been wearing a neck brace so I can do necessary everyday functions. Any ideas of what else I might do to get rid of this without having to see a doctor.

Bjm

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Hi @bjmcdnl

Thanks for reaching out about neck issues. It sounds frustrating to have new symptoms and to be unsure what is going on. Can I ask if the stiffness is in an area that has undergone any surgery or has any hardware added to it?

I’ve have had 5 neck surgeries over the last 4 years. So I am well acquainted with fusion surgery and neck pain.

I would be curious if the stiffness is in an area with previous surgery or if this is a new symptom in an area without surgery?

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@bjmcdnl

I have scoliosis and had many back surgeries with fusion in my young teens (3) and late twenties (2) install a stainless steel rod to hold corrections. No more back surgeries for me, but have been experiencing what seems to be a very, very stiff neck (which effects everything I try to do) for the past 5 days. I have tried to apply arthritis cream to my neck and had to resort to taking 800 milligram tablets of ibuprofen especially for last 3days. I hate taking pain meds of any kind but am at a loss on what to do. I absolutely can’t recall doing anything to bring this on. I have been wearing a neck brace so I can do necessary everyday functions. Any ideas of what else I might do to get rid of this without having to see a doctor.

Bjm

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Hi!
I had 2 discs replaced in my cervical spine, C5/6.
Although I am so much better, I do get pain down my left arm and
headaches that wake me when I sleep.
I get injections which help about 2 to 3 times a year.
This may not sound good, but it is so much better than before.
My surgeon offered to remove the new discs and do a fusion, but as long as
the injections work, I see no reason. (At least at this point.)

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@faithgirl30

Hi @bjmcdnl

Thanks for reaching out about neck issues. It sounds frustrating to have new symptoms and to be unsure what is going on. Can I ask if the stiffness is in an area that has undergone any surgery or has any hardware added to it?

I’ve have had 5 neck surgeries over the last 4 years. So I am well acquainted with fusion surgery and neck pain.

I would be curious if the stiffness is in an area with previous surgery or if this is a new symptom in an area without surgery?

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Hi
My neck idoes not move as it once did, but I blame myself.
I stopped exercising my neck with th exercises I did after surgery in PT.
I recently had surgery which required me to be intubated.
During my presurgical exam, I was asked to turn my head in both directions.
The anesthesiologist was impressed I could do it so well.
Apparently, it is not uncommon to not be able to do it.
Ronnie

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@grandmar

Hi!
I had 2 discs replaced in my cervical spine, C5/6.
Although I am so much better, I do get pain down my left arm and
headaches that wake me when I sleep.
I get injections which help about 2 to 3 times a year.
This may not sound good, but it is so much better than before.
My surgeon offered to remove the new discs and do a fusion, but as long as
the injections work, I see no reason. (At least at this point.)

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Hi @grandmar
I have had 2 neck surgeries, one was 10 years ago (if my calculations are correct) and the other about 3 years ago. The first one was a fusion at C5-6 then the worst case happen, the discs above and below ended up bad as well. This left me with 2 fusions and an artificial disc. My surgeon at the second surgery told me that eventually I will end up having the artificial disc fused as well because they don’t last a lifetime. I was very hard on my body when I was young and didn’t realize what I was doing to my spine. I now have spinal stenosis in all areas of this spine, bulging discs, with pressure in parts of the spinal column. I deal with headaches, arm and joint pain on the left side along with stiffness and muscle spasms. I wish I had your courage of getting shots but I am scared to death of anything going in my spine (a cortisone shot in my elbow was bad enough). I commend you for your bravery!

Thank you for sharing your experience in a positive note.

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@upstatecountrygirl

Hi @grandmar
I have had 2 neck surgeries, one was 10 years ago (if my calculations are correct) and the other about 3 years ago. The first one was a fusion at C5-6 then the worst case happen, the discs above and below ended up bad as well. This left me with 2 fusions and an artificial disc. My surgeon at the second surgery told me that eventually I will end up having the artificial disc fused as well because they don’t last a lifetime. I was very hard on my body when I was young and didn’t realize what I was doing to my spine. I now have spinal stenosis in all areas of this spine, bulging discs, with pressure in parts of the spinal column. I deal with headaches, arm and joint pain on the left side along with stiffness and muscle spasms. I wish I had your courage of getting shots but I am scared to death of anything going in my spine (a cortisone shot in my elbow was bad enough). I commend you for your bravery!

Thank you for sharing your experience in a positive note.

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One way of looking at it is if you were brave enough to have not one, but two surgeries on your cervical spine, an injection is much less risky?! If it’s the idea of a needle that scares you, they can possibly give you some sedation to help you tolerate the procedure. Just something for you to consider.
I’ve had a cervical fusion at two levels. Ten years ago. Now the areas above and below the fusion are messed up. My discs above are collapsed and “autofused” – they did it themselves – I guess not unheard of, body’s way of trying to protect itself from excess motion. I have a bulging dic below my fusion and “severe” stenosis per MRI.
My neck makes lots of noise and hurts – I think sometimes it gets “stuck” and I feel a sort of crack/pop. I have discomfort in my upper shoulder, base of neck, etc.
I have been offered another neck surgery but it would be involved, require a posterior approach (which cuts a bunch of muscles, longer recovery than going from front) and higher risks to my arm because of the nerves involved. Have had 3 opinions from different places – several years ago. So I refused more surgery.
I get neck injections aka occipital nerve blocks, done under ultrasound with local anesthetic, in MD office by a Pain Management/anesthesiologist. Other than the local stinging, it’s fine. Definitely helps. I can have them every 3 months and can definitely tell when my appointment is coming due!

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