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Doctor insights on: Cervical Fusion Hardware Removal

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Dr. Thomas Dowling
1,119 Doctors shared insights

Spinal Fusion (Definition)

Surgery to cause two or more spine segments to be joined together through a growth of bone initiated by the placement of bone tissue or graft taken from the patient or from a donor source or even a manufactured source which could include: bone growth proteins and particulate structures that act as scaffolds for bone to grow on and may include implants or instrumentation ...Read more


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If a cervical spinal fusion been determined to fused properly should the neck hardware be removed?

If a cervical spinal fusion been determined to fused properly should the neck hardware be removed?

Usually not unless: The hardware or instrumentation poses or is causing an issue such as displacement or loosening which would be rare with a fusion achieved. ...Read more

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I had cervical fusion surgury 8 years ago 45 hours ago I have had 3 places come up on the back of my neck could this be hardware could this be the hardware used in my surgury coming loose- its very painful and it is now buring

Emergency room: Based on what you wrote, it sounds like you need an urgent evaluation of your neck. I would call your physician asap or consider going to the emergency room. You could have a very dangerous problem. ...Read more

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Nerve damage to groin and hip area after illiac crest bone harvest. What's it called and is it reversable? Six months post op. Cervical fusion of c6-c7 with autograft from hip and hardware. Sensations range from numb, sharp quick pins and needles and sand

Nerve damage to groin and hip area after illiac crest bone harvest. What's it called and is it reversable? Six months post op. Cervical fusion of c6-c7 with autograft from hip and hardware. Sensations range from numb, sharp quick pins and needles and sand

There: There are a few nerves around the pelvis that could be injured during graft harvest. The most common one is the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve which supplies the skin on the outside of the thigh. From your description, it is more likely the ilioinguinal or pedundal nerve that is affected. Since I don't know where the bone was harvested (anterior or posterior crest), I don't know how the nerve might have been injured.

Most of these nerve injuries are what are called neurapraxias. The nerves recover with time, but can be painful for several months to a year. A charring injury from the cautery used during surgery also recovers with time.

If the nerve is partially (axonotmesis) or completely (neurotmesis) severed, the recovery is less predictable. The nerve fibers have to regrow and find their way to the nerve endings. If they "get lost" they can cause a painful ball of nerve fibers called a neuroma. Nerves take a month to start growing and grow at 1mm/day or about an inch a month. Based on the location of the injury and the distance to the nerve endings, it can take a long time to regenerate.

Injured nerves can be very irritable and send any stimulus as a painful signal. To quiet the nerve, we use desensitization techniques. By constantly giving the nerve a low level stimulus, it "learns" what is normal and stops the painful signal. Then you increase the stimulation until that feels normal.

While Neurontin can be helpful, I have had better pain control (though not necessarily side effects) with lyrica (pregabalin). Insurers are often reluctant to cover it because it's more expensive. Amitriptyline or nortriptyline can enhance the effects, but also add to the sedation.

It is possible you may need surgery to explore the nerve and remove a possible neuroma, though that would likely leave an area of numbness. Only your surgeon knows what the likelihood of that is. Nerve conduction studies usually are not very helpful in this area and can be painful to get, particularly if the nerve is quite irritable.

To date we do not have any means of making nerves function. We can decompress them, repair them, remove neuromas, and even transfer them, but they have to work on their own. Maybe in the future we will have nerve growth factors or stem cells to help boost nerve function. For now, however, nerve pain remains a frustratingly difficult problem. ...Read more

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Can a 4 disc cervical fusion be reversed?

????: Why did it not go well. Cannot be reversed perhaps revised by be careful may make it worse ...Read more

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I'm curious as to what can I expect in a cervical fusion?

Anterior cervical: An anterior cervical fusion is one of the most common procedures done in neurosurgery. This is often done for a herniated disc that is squeezing a nerve root. The procedure involves an incision on the front of the neck. The surgeon removes the disc in question and a graft is placed. This keeps the space open. A metal plate is placed across this to hold it in place. Variations in technique exist. ...Read more

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If my cervical fusion failed, do I have to pay to get it corrected?

Ask Insurance: This probably depends a lot on your insurance carrier. If you have a failure of fusion (pseudoarthrosis) then most likely your insurance will cover the repair surgery. ...Read more

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What do you suggest if my cervical fusion failed do I have to pay to get it corrected?

Yes: If you have not fused and require another surgery, you will be expected to pay for your care. Good luck. ...Read more

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If u were needing cervical fusion & could not afford to get treated in usa, what country wud u go to be treated?

US: You can receive the care that you need here. Many surgeons and hospitals will work with you to provide you the care that you need and help to reduce your financial burden. I would suggest that you also seek care at a university teaching hospital as they typically have very good financial assistance programs. ...Read more

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How serious is cervical spinal fusion.?

A common procedure: Cervical spinal fusion for a herniated cervical disc is a common procedure done by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. There are certainly risks to the surgery, but in the proper hands the outcomes are excellent. You also need to evaluate the situation and ensure that the symptoms can be treated effectively with the fusion. ...Read more

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How do screws break in a cervical fusion?

How do screws break in a cervical fusion?

Hardware failure: Screws, like any other material, have a failure point. Mechanical load, both static and dynamic, ultimately lead to failure once a critical threshold has occurred. For a successful spinal fusion, the bone needs to grow between the fused levels. Hardware just serves as a brace until this is achieved. ...Read more

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What is the healing time for a c 5-6 cervical fusion?

Wound - bone: Wound heals up in 2-3 weeks. The bone healing takes about 2-3 months. ...Read more

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How to deal with the pain after cervical spinal fusion?

Depends: This depends on how recent the surgery was and how bad it is and if it got better after initial surgery. If it is recent then you should have been given pain meds by your surgeon or call for extra meds. If greater than 6 months to a year then see your surgeon to be sure you have fused and make sure you haven't developed additional pathology at other levels. Some pain is not abnormal. ...Read more

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What's recovery like after getting a cervical fusion surgery?

What's recovery like after getting a cervical fusion surgery?

3 months: Assuming a proper work-up has been done and conservative care has failed, most patients do very well from a single level cervical fusion. Average time for a complete recovery is 3 months. Check out spine health. Com. ...Read more

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Could use your help docs! My cervical fusion failed, do I have to pay to get it corrected?

Could use your help docs! My cervical fusion failed, do I have to pay to get it corrected?

Ask Insurance: This probably depends a lot on your insurance carrier. If you have a failure of fusion (pseudoarthrosis) then most likely your insurance will cover the repair surgery. ...Read more

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How much pain will I be in after cervical fusion? How painful is cervical fusion surgery? How long will I be in pain afterwards? .

No excessive pain: I am assuming that the cervical fusion is anterior, or from the front. Usually, patients do not report a great deal of pain after this surgery. Often, they say the pain of surgery is less than the pain of the ruptured disc that necessitated the surgery. The most common complaint relates to having a sore throat. Good luck in your surgery! ...Read more

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I am having a cervical fusion and I was wondering whether it differs from doctor to doctor or generally the same.

I am having a cervical fusion and I was wondering whether it differs from doctor to doctor or generally the same.

Common procedure: An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with instrumentation is a common procedure to address cervical disc herniations, degenerative spondylosis and occasional to treat instability from trauma. A fusion will eliminate the motion at the involved joint segments. Most patients do well. For very good information and videos, check out spine-health. Com. ...Read more

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How risky is anterior cervical fusion?

How risky is anterior cervical fusion?

3 months: Assuming a proper work-up has been done and conservative care has failed, most patients do very well from a single level cervical fusion. Average time for a complete recovery is 3 months. Although there are risks with any surgery, most patients do very well. Check out spine health. Com. ...Read more

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Anybody ever had anterior cervical fusion with plate?

Anybody ever had anterior cervical fusion with plate?

Routine: An anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (acdf) is a commonly performed procedure for cervical disc herniation pathology. The results are usually above 95% for healing of the fusion and for the resolution of arm weakness/pain in the appropriately indicated patient. Sometimes a plate is not necessary, depending on the pathology/surgeon/implants used. ...Read more

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What kind of complications might happen from an anterior cervical fusion?

What kind of complications might happen from an anterior cervical fusion?

See the list: Here are the risks: infection, bleeding, nerve damage, paralysis, loss of voice, ongoing numbness and tingling, failure to improve, failure of fusion, failure of instrumentation, stroke, heart attack, coma, damage to the trachea, esophagus, carotid or jugular vein,
worsening of pain, need for further surgery, spinal fluid leak, or even death. ...Read more

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Regards to a posterial cervical fusion this is my 3rd cervical surgery 1st 2 were anterior I am concerned what are the risks w/this surgery?

Multiple: In an otherwise healthy person, a posterior cervical surgery is relatively safe; but potential complications can include infection, blood loss requiring transfusion, nerve injury, excessive scarring, and worsening in your pain to name a few. I would definitely discuss in detail with your surgeon. ...Read more

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I had a cervical fusion at 4-5 and 5-6, three years ago. Istill experience pain and spasms. I have a plate, 6 screws and 2 spacers. What should I do?

I had a cervical fusion at 4-5 and 5-6, three years ago. Istill experience pain and spasms. I have a plate, 6 screws and 2 spacers. What should I do?

Pain after ACDF: Understand, 80% of these surgeries are successful. Therefore, occasions exist when pain does not improve.
Considerations: 1) new problem above or below the fusion (pain free interval after surgery, different symptoms) 2) failure of the fusion to heal properly (symptoms, better then recurred) 3) problem unaddressed by surgery (never better)
best thing to do is be evaluated by your operating md. ...Read more

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Is anterior cervical fusion recommended in young people? If internal fixation is done, am I very likely to suffer from it as I get old like in my 50s

Depends: Anterior cervical decompression and fusion (acdf) is common for cervical disk herniation unimproved after non-operative or conservative care.
The fusion will put more stress on the level above and below the fusion, but the plate and fusion are highly unlikely to cause other future problems. ...Read more

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Gain heathly weight, aprx10-15lbs. I'm 54 & aprx, 95lbs, (range, low 92-96 now) lost after 8 cervical fusion, surgerys, + LOW blood P. wat be norm 4 me?

Healthy weight: Depends on your height. If your weight range is within your ideal body weight then gaining weight is not healthy. Generally gaining weight incLudeman increasing calories, weight lifting and if indicated protein shakes ...Read more

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What to do if I had a cervical fusion a few years ago just a few days ago my neck started to hurt on the left side with a headache I wake up with this?

Time: Hopefully, you just have a cervical strain. If the symptoms persist, them see your Dr. For an evaluation. Good luck. ...Read more

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What is osseous bridging after cervical fusion? Fused c3-c4

Bone between two dis: This means there is an osseous (a bone) connection between the two vertebrae you had surgery on. Since the two are connected, have bone growth into it and attached it is called a bone bridge ...Read more

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Severe nausea following cervical fusion meds don't help much?

Severe nausea following cervical fusion meds don't help much?

Call your MD: If you are experiencing nausea post op, it's very important to let your surgeon know. Causes for this are many and include pain medicine, anesthesia etc... ...Read more

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Does plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) interfere with a cervical fusion?

Does plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) interfere with a cervical fusion?

Very unlikely: In terms of suppressing the immune system for the body to heal itself after surgery, plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) does not lower the immune system, so it should not interfere with the surgery or post-op period of cervical fusion. ...Read more

Fusion (Definition)

A fusion gets rid of a joint or disk between to bones, getting the bones to join together with bone between them. If successful, it eliminates almost all the motion between the bones. Sometimes fusion simply occur as a result of disease, rarely from aging. Most of the time ...Read more


Cervical (Definition)

Cervical relates to the first seven vertebra of the spine. It is related it the neck. Also it refers to the muscular opening/exit of ...Read more