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Posted in: Neck pain, Surgery, and Whiplash.

Why is my neck still PURPLE post anterior cervical fusion?

Started by Rootsgal on 05/24/2010 6:52pm

I had my first cervical anterior fusion on C5-6 in November 2007. My neck stayed purple and bruised looking ever since. I continued with terrible pain and my neck felt like there was a golf ball on the left side. I complained and said I though the screws were loose and/or the plate may have shifted. Nobody listened as the MRI's did not show this. I was finally sent to a pain clinic and was prescribed: Oxycontin, oxycodone, gabapentin, flexoril, lyrica. I went for a physical and my primary care doc, sent me to a great neurosurgeon. After about 18 months he FINALLY said I needed a fusion above the last one. Once he got in there, he noticed that everything I complained about was true! The bone never fused, the screws were all wiggly and the plate had popped up. He removed all of it and filled in where the screws were with some putty. He did a 4 level fusion, but I still have the purple neck.I also wore the MIAMI J neck brace for 4 weeks, even in the shower. WHY IS MY NECK PURPLE after 3 years? First surgery was November 2007, second was march 2010. I have not read this anywhere. It looks horrible, and I just want to know what is causing this. Is my neck reacting to the titanium? I Please help me.....

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I am officially unsubscribing from this website. It is not helpful in any way. Not one person or even a doctor (as I sent the same question to one on this site) could answer my question. Goodbye and good luck to those who are getting lots of responses.....not everything is for everyone~


Well I dont see how anyone could tell you that since its a unique problem. I have had 3 neck surgeries and none turned purple, and the doctor did not warn me about that being a risk. So, having said that, you need to rely on your own doctors advice and diagnosis since he or she can see what is going on.

Its kind of like me saying, my car wont start, and there is a puddle under it.

Unless someone who is an expert looks at it, and determines if the two are related, can a proper diagnosis be made. I'm sure lots of people can guess, hematoma, bleeding into the fascial planes, some nicked artery or vein that continues to bleed, I dont know, and its such an odd problem that I'm sure no one can help you except a doctor who sees you and is an expert in neurosurgery or hematology, vascular surgery or whatever the issue is.


Two neurosurgeons and my primary care doctor have all seen this and have offered no explanation.


Then I would get an attorney and explore malpractice against the doctor who did the surgery. IF they cannot offer any help or explanation, that seems to me like your next step.

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I had the anterior cervical surgery. Three complete vertebra were removed and replaced with bone transplants, a five level fusion was done, as well as decompression. I wouldn't describe my scar as "purple" but it is "lip colored" as the doctor calls it. He thinks it will fade in time. I just use a touch of cover stick. I would be less concerned about the color and more concerned about your continuing pain and problems. I'm glad you sought out another doctor who helped you. I was blessed with an awesome doctor. Although the original surgery was horribly painful, I got slowly better, weaned myself from that Oxycodone/Hydrocodone/Oxycontin crap and am much better now. The more fair your skin, the more discolored your scar will be.


AUGUST 2012, and I am seeing 2 persons have responded. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. ***

If I sounded annoyed it is because I have asked about (5) questions relating to my fusion on this site, and nobody has answered anything, until I said I was going to leave.....lol....

At this point in time, I have had radio frequency done on my cervical fusion (4 LEVELS) and also my facet joints in my low back, (lumbar spine).

This past Friday, August 24, everything wore off all at once. ((really sad face))
Now, I have a cane, and I can barely move let alone walk! My husband and son have to help me get off any couch or chair, and I cannot even roll over in bed! The spasms are SO BAD! I cannot get dressed without help or get out of the bath tub. I bought some herbal, lavender sea weed bath stuff, and it makes the spasms a bit less painful for about 2 hours, then, they come right back again!

Now, I have had to go back on AVINZA (morphine) along with oxycodone. gabapentin (Generic for neurontin) Norflex, and Lyrica. If I take all of it at once, I can stop crying, but I am oh so drowsy.
I am going to call back my WONDERFUL pain mgmt. doc tomorrow to tell him what is going on,

Anyway, thanks for the answers on this ONE THREAD. GIVING THANKS TO ALL OF YOU for your time and compassion.

Take a deep breathe and be glad you are here. (I was in a drunk driving crash, so I am lucky to be alive)


Can you tell me what the name of the "herbal, lavender sea weed bath stuff" is called? I get so desperate for relief I think I would even consider eating it!
I just read your 1st post and was shocked, really SHOCKED! Even I know things don't remain purple, what I don't know is why. My medical expertise is limited to my own spinal issues. The info I get from Dr's is so vague, often contradictory, I find I don't even ask them questions anymore... (saves them from having to lie to me). I wonder why they don't just say, "It's called medical 'practice' for a reason. We don't actually 'know' what we're doing). I sound cynical, but that's my experience. Instead of admitting they don't know, they deny there's anything wrong with you. Only to diagnose something years later, after running multiple tests, adding to the intense suffering of the patient. The worst part is, we really are at their mercy. We NEED Dr's, no that's not right, we need GOOD Dr's. It's a love-hate relationship.
I'm having a fusion on c6-7 this Friday, and you know what, even after reading what could go wrong, I'm just at a point where I don't have much choice. I know if I don't have it done, I'll only get worse.
I'm so sorry to here you're in so much pain, I can relate, not just to the pain, but the frustration of not getting answers. Doesn't it seem like we live between a rock and hard place? ( I'm considering taking up drinking...again).
I didn't really answer any of your questions because I don't have the answers. I hope you get some relief, somehow.
Take care,


hi rootsgal,My name is rene ( im an orthopedic nurse) I read your plea for help so I scrolled to find your blog, I too just had a cervical fusion,4 screws,plate and a titanium rod this past aug 5, and a laminectomy of lumbar March of 2011 which ended up as Failed Back Syndrome, meaning they fixed the structural part but will always have chronic lumbar pain,,,anyway,,,about you,,Im trying very hard to figure this out for u . Remember im not a doc, im only a nurse so dont quote me,,,,the only thing I can think of that would cause a purple area would b ruptured vessels ( veins ) causing the discoloration, Do u find it hard to rotate ur neck in any way, or a heavy feeling to keep ur head up? can u tell me EXACTLY what the MRI states and I will read it n maybe I can b of some help.Ill b watching 4 ur reply, I promise to do my best to help u. Hang in there,after I read ur MRI, I will respond and put on my nursing cap (haha) and do my best...Rene :)


I feel for you. Anything can go wrong with these surgeries. I have had the same thing and all my same symptoms are coming back. How come the MRI didn't show this plate loose? That's ridiculous! I hate these doctors sometimes. They never tell you the truth. I'm sorry...I have never heard of a neck going purple. Demand an answer by the surgeon, if he can't answer...ask him to recommend to you a doctor who could.