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  • hurting
    Member
    Post count: 2

    Hi
    I had a ACDF surgery done on 6-29-12 levels c-5 through c-7. I saw my surgeon in November and he said that the third level, that being 6 has not fused. I never wore a collar after surgery and no one really told me how to recover.. ie: what to do or what not to do to help with the healing. I was not told much. When I went in this last time, he told me about the failed fusion and told me. I was told to come back in February of next year with a new x-ray. I heard the doctor saying that I should be healed this far past surgery and that if I were to still be in pain and no fusion occurs, further surgical intervention may be required. I am very worried about this. I have been given Norco for the pain and that is about it. How serious is this? What happens if fusion at the level fails to occur? Am I in danger of possibly breaking my neck? Should I wear a collar now? What should I do and how much should I worry. I am in pain all of the time.. from my head down to the middle of my back sometimes. Please help. Thank You.. Hurting

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8460

    A failed fusion (called a pseudoarthrosis) in a two level ACDF (anterior cervical decompression and fusion) is not uncommon with some papers noting as much as a 20% failure rate. This failure rate is partially based upon the type of graft used.

    As failure of fusion is not uncommon, there are standard techniques to resolve this failure. Some pseudoarthoses are stable/not painful and patients can live with them without any lifestyle alterations. These fusion failures have tough fibrous tissue binding them and demonstrate little motion.

    Some pseudoarthoses allow significant motion and are painful. If enough time has passed and there is no fusion, there are two ways to allow these to heal. If the body demonstrates a significant attempt to heal (this can be determined by a CT scan) and there are no bone spurs that are compressing the nerves or cord, a posterior fusion generally allows both the back and front of the neck to heal.

    If however, there is a very poor attempt by the vertebra to incorporate the fusion (as indicated by CT scan) or there are spurs compressing the nerve roots or cord, an anterior revision and a posterior fusion needs to be considered.

    Dr. Corenman

    hurting
    Member
    Post count: 2

    Hi
    So what you are basically saying is that I have to wait until I have another cat scan to know what to do? What can I do to help myself heal between now and February?
    Thank You..
    Hurting

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8460

    There are no supplements you can take or exercises you can do to help the pseudoarthrosis to heal. There is an external bone stimulator that can be used but the efficacy of that device is still questioned.

    Unfortunately, time and mother nature are the best tools you have to see if the fusion will “take”.

    Dr. Corenman

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