Neck fusions

July 6, 2006 at 1:35 pm


I awoke January 3rd 2004 unable to turn my head. I had numbness in both hands and a pain radiating across my shoulder down to my elbow. I also had pain going to the top of my head. Subsequent MRIs showed herniated discs C3-C7 and Stenosis of the vertabrae. March 1st of 2004 my surgeon did an anterior cervical fusion C3-C7. This was done by jacking the vertabrae apart and inserting cadaver bone wafers. A titanium plate and screws were applied to complete the fusion. I recovered the feeling in my hands and the pain was alleviated. I was still having some problem with my right leg and foot. The MRI showed a bruise on the spinal chord. They suspected this may be the cause of the problem in the leg. I struggled getting around using a cane. After falling several times, I was given an AFO for the right foot. I found this cumbersome and impossible to drive. Upon seeing my primary care physician after one of my falls, he said he didn’t like the way I was walking. He sent me back to the surgeon. The surgeon sent me to a neurosurgeon for a second opinion. They decided that the stenosis could be causing the problem with my gait and that I needed a second surgery. Sept 10th they conducted a posterior approach cervical lamenectomy and fusion. I was laid up for about 2 months and had no improvement to my gait. I was taking physical therapy and I was riding my recumbent exercycle 30 minutes daily. But I was still unable to walk without support. I got a rolling walker and returned to work. The next time I saw my Primary care physician I had fallen again. He said I needed to get more aggressive with my recovery or I would end up paralyzed.
I signed on again with physical therapy. I was getting stretched and and exercising to improve my leg strength and core muscles. The problem being that the more I exercised the worse I was getting. My therapist said I might not get any better. I agreed I was getting worse. Returning to the surgeon, he sent me another round of MRIs Brain to Tail. Reviewing them he said that I had been through enough and another surgery wasn’t warranted. He referred me to Neuro. I went to the neurologist and he suggested I have a nerve conduction study. I then saw the neurosurgeon and he suggested I might have NPH. I returned to the neurologist and he said he didn’t agree. He ran the EMG and said that my nerves were weak and slow. Set me up for a spinal Tap. The results of the Spinal tap showed Inflamation and he diagnosed CIDP. I was set up for IVIG therapy in December. I had a minor increase in strength and felt a little better overall. I had another round in January and again in February. No change after either and I was continuing to weaken. In March he started me on High dose Prednisone(60mg). I have continued to weaken. I no longer can do stairs and I have given up the walker and taken on the wheelchair. He is weaning me from the prednisone and referring me to another neurologist. I am currently awaiting an appointment with him. Sorry for the long story but I just never have put it down to words. I feel the surgery was successful in aleviating the pain and numbness I had prior. The CIDP had compromised my recovery. Since you already have CIDP I don’t know what to advise. If it’s just a herniated disc Physical therapy might be benificial.

Good luck and God Bless