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Need information on fusion from c2-c6

Started by mpg on 05/31/2014 4:25am

I am 43 year old female with previos acdf with instrumentation c4/5 c5/6 7 years ago, now the pain, numbness, headaches, chest pain, shoulder pain, weakness loss of strength is back, MRI confirms the discs above the fusion are gone, epidural no help, pain meds minimal help....now facing possible fusion not sure of the exact procedure surgeon plans on using, really dont want to know. i want to know what recovery is like. what to expect, anything that can be shared. I understand that this type of surgery is rare but I have been dealing with this for 22 years since a mva.. I had acdf in 2007 then a lumbar fusion from l3-t1 with bone grafts, I guess I am trying to prepare myself on what to expect.

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4 Responses


Hello, I am a 43 year old female who had a fusion of my C3 to C5 at the end of 2013. My case was severe by the time I saw my doctor. I had heaviness, weakness and tingling in all four limbs and a cane to walk. I had my MRI on a Friday, saw her Monday and was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday. She did the two level fusion with donor bone through the front of my neck. It required a one night stay at the hospital.

For 4 weeks, I was unable to drive, off of work and limited to lift a weight of about 10 lbs. Really the only down side I found was the miami j collar I had to wear during this time. Pain pills were offered, but I did not take anything ... literally, I had no pain when the procedure was over. I am not sure what else I can tell you, but if you have any specific questions, I will be glad to help as much as I can.


Due to invasions of ligament invasion of my spinal column in 2 places, my surgeon had to open my cervical spine from C2-C5, remove the offending tissue and, in closing, fused, with titanium rods and screws, the entire surgical site.
By the way, my C5-C6 had already, many years ago, autofused. The neck pain caused by these invasions were absolutely cured however, likely due to the surgery or placements of instrumentation, my occipital nerves are in a permanent state of inflamation causing occipital neuralgia leaving me with a 24/7 headache involving from my mid-neck, over the crown of my head to the level of my eyebrows with some eye pain and photosensitivity. The only successful treatment, and i have undergone EVERY type that a pain manager could try including radio frequency ablation all of which were very short-term 'fixes", is the use of oral prednisone. This drug dampens but does not alleviate it; nothing does.
My neck motion side-to-side is about 15 degrees, upward about 5 deg. and downward about 20deg. so i guess i'm not going to enjoy a tennis match any time soon. One gets used to the lack of motion and lives with it. My greatest loss is swimming; i cannot turn my head to breath during the crawl. if i can help further, let me know please.


In 2011 I found myself in a terrible situation, I was experiencing the worse pain I had ever had in my life. My neck, shoulders and arms having unbelievable pain. For years I had thought the pain in my neck was just stress. By the time I went to see the Dr. I was having difficulty walking and a number of other symptoms. I had surgery within a few day to fuse C3 to C6 putting a mesh cage at C-3. A year later it had not healed completely, the lower levels, so they had to go in again. This time they move the cage to C5 and fused to C7. After the first operation I felt better at first, the pain was almost gone and I was beginning to get things together, after about 4 mos. I started having problems again so they did a new MRI and found out it was not healing. The 2nd surgery was in 2012 and now most of the pain is bearable but I have numbness and tingling in my right arm and hand. My feet are numb or have tingling, burning and other problems. I have involuntary movements in my arms and legs muscles. The pain level can get bad if I have been very active for a day. I know this sounds bad but due to want I was looking at in the beginning I guess I am better off than I would have been if I had not had not had the surgeries. They told me to begin with as fast as it was progressing I could be where I was confined to a wheel chair with not control over my bladder or bowel functions. At the C3 level my spinal cord was so compressed it was almost flat. So really at that point surgery was the only option I had. I waited to long to go and see about what was wrong with me and I have a very high tolerance for pain so when things are wrong it is usually pretty bad when I do go to a doctor. The operation is not that bad. I stayed in the hospital one night with each one and went home the next morning. I had to have some physical therapy after the first because my walking was still unsteady but all and all I'm better than before.