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Need C2-T2, Possibly T4 Posterior Fusion! Any1 Else Had?

Started by Sheiba227 on 10/03/2015 8:49pm

I can emphasize with you folks just a little at this point. At 51, I am being told that I need a C2-T2, possibly T4. In 1994 I needed a C1-C2 neck fusion. At the time this surgery was at the forefront of technology and having a UPMC neurosurgeon perform the surgery made me comfortable. Being in my early 30 I was r day to roll and knew I needed to have it done. My biggest concern was the possible "domino affect". That has certainly hit home now! Has anyone had this surgery? Has anyone had the surgery done with MIS, Minimally Invasive Surgery? Although an extensive surgery, eight or more fusions, my concern is this ; the first appointment I made at UPMC, the neuro doc that did my first successful fusion died in Sept 2014, was with an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at UPMC, Pittsburgh. He has excellent reviews and strictly works with the MIS's. At my first appointment he pumped me full of his ingenious idea to fix a herniated nucleus purposes at C3-C4, and perform all of the surgery to correct my neck issues and re establish the normal curve to my neck. This would involve removing the titanium pins at C1-C2, put there in 1994. Of course I was excited and could not wait to make the plans. ORIGINALLY, I had gone to see him due to severe lower back pain and burning! A current MRI revealed the cervical issues. He explained that the neck needed surgery first due to the compression issues at C3-C4 and that no doctor would perform surgery at any other area until the neck was fixed. We immediately made plans for a next appointment to plan my surgery. At the next appointment I could not have been more shocked than to have this "expert", "top notch". Neurosurgeon tell me that he changed his mind!!! WHAT? He stated that although he could do the surgery, he preferred to perform quick 1-2 hour surgeries, "get in and get out"! I was ready to cry! I am not a crier but it was that or start telling him what a quack I thought he was for not only getting me so excited about this MIS surgery, but to then make it a matter of his time! Anyway, he referred me to one of his associates. This fellow, who had just written an article on this exact surgery, did in fact tell me that the surgery he had just written about was exactly the surgery I needed and that he wanted to perform. Although. I would never jump into any surgery this extensive without other opinions, his staff made all the plans, set dates and orders without even having my approval! As nice as he was, I knew nothing when I left his office! Neither he or his assistant explained anything about even the name of the surgery he was going to perform! My biggest concern is if the first neurosurgeon was able to do this surgery using MIS techniques, why can't any of the other doctors at UPMC? Could it be a subject of insurances? Do they all just want to perform "their" procedures? Do they not want to compete against their colleagues? Can anyone help me with these answers? If I choose to have this surgery there is no looking back! Had I been able to wait for the C1-C2 fusion, they would have used a completely different approach. Even the artifacts that are used are made to allow for some ROM etc. C1-C2. Controls 50% of your ROM in the neck. This surgery would leave me with absolutely no ROM. At any level! My greatest pain is in my lower back. In fact. I have very little neck pain. My only complaint with the neck is numbness in my fingers, mainly my thumbs. If it weren't for this numbness I would never believe that I had any neck problem requiring surgery! Left shoulder pain has gone away. There are days that I awake and the numbness in my right hand is gone! if my fingers weren't numb I would never consider the neck surgery at this time! I am only considering the neck because I have been told no one will risk back surgery while I need the narrowing at C3-C4 fixed. Is or has anyone been through this surgery? How about been told the same, as far as, the neck needing surgery first? I know everyone's situation is different and unique but if the can intabate me awake to perform neck surgery why can't they intabate me awake to perform back surgery? I don't even understand how I am going to be expected to recover properly when I am suffering from lower back pain and burning that is so severe that I cant stand for more than a minute or two! ANY. Comments, suggests, or if you have had this surgery through open surgery or minimally invasive techniques, would be very appreciated! In the meantime, I wish the very best for everyone! With proper medication and exercise I am still able to meet a level of pain relief that is easy to live with! May God Bless you and yours!

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2 Responses


Just a note. I live near Pittsburgh, PA. I was told by Dr. Lee' s assistant that he does 7-9, C2-T2 fusions per week! Finding that a little excessive I have every possible question on Spine Universe. Pretty much no one has responded. That really makes me feel good about things! LOL!


I had to have bone spurs remoded from C-5 and C-6 (I think those are the ones) and bone grafts done on them. Surgery was easy compared to low back fusions, and recovery went well. Where they took bone from my hip was more painful than my neck. Walking helped that. I wish you well.