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Cervical Spine second surgery (What to expect?)
#1
Dear Sirs,

I had a cervical spine fusion surgery in 2003. Currently, my attorney and I are
trying to follow the procedure set forth by Work Comp laws and provide the
carrier everything they deserve. This is all procedural and does not pertain to
my question. My question is: who out there has had a surgery which is similar
or identical to the second surgery which my original neurosurgeon proposes,
i.e., first surgery in 2003 (fusion plate installed from C-4 through C-7. At some point between 2003 and 2010 the hardware failed and x-rays showed a fracture of screws affixing the plate in the C-4 vertebral body and possible "backing out" of screws at C-7.

My ability to function since the first surgery in 2003 is as follows:

I had the fusion in 2003. I was lucky in that I was able to move into my family's home in Illinois after I was initially released by my surgeon. In that manner, I had no expense for rent, utilities, and a job as a printer, which I was eventually able to work "contract labor," temporary, part-time, though able to rest when needed, and able to contribute within the family environment. I received my disability status in Sept. 2005. I never had any earned income after 2003. Due to a divorce ruling in the State of Washington in 2000, I had no opportunity to earn enough to support myself, while the court garnished my wages by 65% to help provide for my ex-wife and two children. Everything considered, I was able to qualify for "Medicare Extra Help" which reduced my medical bills to practically nothing. I started having pain in my neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers which resulted in seeing my neurosurgeon, for the first time since the initial surgery, in 2010. He had me start treatment at a Pain Management center. I did so, and have been treated since that date. My pain has continued to become worse and I can no longer even wash myself without resting my arms. I am quite weak and cannot use my upper body without exacerbating the pain. I suffer, of course, from neuropathy and associated problems.

My neurosurgeon-
now recommends that I have the "old plate" removed and a second plate installed which will extend up the cervical spine by one more level. So, as I
understand the premise for the surgery, I will have a newly fixed plate that will fuse C-2 through C-7! This is a very scary operation for me to have at the age of 65. He indicates that I will always suffer from the effects which I suffer from currently, since there is nothing that can be done to cure neuropathy. So, my prognosis is that I will likely have the same amount of pain after the healing process, as I do now! He believes that by installing an extended plate (to stabilize) my cervical spine I will have a much better chance at avoiding- a continued increase in my amount of pain from which I suffer and continued impairment beyond what is current.

Has anyone had experience with a "Second cervical spine fusion" of this nature?
It would be a benefit to me at this juncture to hear from you!

Thank you
 
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#2
I hope the previous information was helpful.

A fusion over time seems to weaken and cause problems to those joints next to it.
I suspect such progression is beginning.
I would get a second opinion before considering major surgery, especially if this is the second one for a similar condition.
Failures of these procedures are frequent. I would consider what options you will have if a failure a occurs with this surgery. Thinking about your next step before taking this one would seem to be prudent.
Will your future treatment options be more limited by having this next surgery?
A good question for your second opinion doctor.
Do consequences and risks increase with each surgical attempt?

I Have not had such surgery.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
Reply
#3
(07-29-2017, 10:59 AM)smith.daniel@centurylink.net Wrote: Dear Sirs,

I had a cervical spine fusion surgery in 2003.  Currently, my attorney and I are
trying to follow the procedure set forth by Work Comp laws and provide the
carrier everything they deserve.  This is all procedural and does not pertain to
my question.  My question is: who out there has had a surgery which is similar
or identical to the second surgery which my original neurosurgeon proposes,
i.e., first surgery in 2003 (fusion plate installed from C-4 through C-7.  At some point between 2003 and 2010  the hardware failed and x-rays showed a fracture of screws affixing the plate in the C-4 vertebral body and possible "backing out" of screws at C-7.  

My ability to function since the first surgery in 2003 is as follows:

I had the fusion in 2003. I was lucky in that I was able to move into my family's home in Illinois after I was initially released by my surgeon.  In that manner, I had no expense for rent, utilities, and a job as a printer, which I was eventually able to work "contract labor," temporary, part-time, though able to rest when needed, and able to contribute within the family environment. I received my disability status in Sept. 2005. I never had any earned income after 2003. Due to a divorce ruling in the State of Washington in 2000, I had no opportunity to earn enough to support myself, while the court garnished my wages by 65% to help provide for my ex-wife and two children. Everything considered, I was able to qualify for "Medicare Extra Help" which reduced my medical bills to practically nothing.  I started having pain in my neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers which resulted in seeing my neurosurgeon, for the first time since the initial surgery, in 2010.  He had me start treatment at a Pain Management center.  I did so, and have been treated since that date.  My pain has continued to become worse and I can no longer even wash myself without resting my arms.  I am quite weak and cannot use my upper body without exacerbating the pain.  I suffer, of course, from neuropathy and associated problems.  

My neurosurgeon-
now recommends that I have the "old plate" removed and a second plate installed which will extend up the cervical spine by one more level. So, as I
understand the premise for the surgery,  I will have a newly fixed plate that will fuse C-2 through C-7!  This is a very scary operation for me to have at the age of 65.  He indicates that I will always suffer from the effects which I suffer from currently, since there is nothing that can be done to cure neuropathy.  So, my prognosis is that I will likely have the same amount of pain after the healing process, as I do now!  He believes that by installing an extended plate (to stabilize) my cervical spine I will have a much better chance at avoiding-  a continued increase in my amount of pain from which I suffer and continued impairment beyond what is current.  

Has anyone had experience with a "Second cervical spine fusion" of this nature?
It would be a benefit to me at this juncture to hear from you!

Thank you

My fusion was lumbar and like yourself the level above is having problems.

I have however had contact with other patients who had additional cervical fusions. What I have learned is not ALL cervical fusions are done the same way, not all spine surgeons have the same skillset AND there are MANY different types of hardware being used. Some are more dangerous than others. What approach does your surgeon suggest...anterior, posterior or both? Does he state you vertebrae ALSO needs to be removed, known as a corpectomy? What hardware is he EXACTLY wanting to use on you, the brand, and product code? You should get at least one more opinion, but I suggest two other opinions. Research your surgeon before allowing him to operate on you. Read reviews and go into the propublica dollars for docs site.
I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
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