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    Unexplained Inflammation in neck following fusion
    floridastatefan posted:
    I am over one year post-op from a second fusion of C5, C6 & C7 (the first fusion failed), and the last bone scan I had showed inflammation at, and around the surgery site.

    My surgeon states she's never seen this, and has no idea what is causing it. I know there may not be an answer as to what is causing it, but is there anyone with any suggestions or anyone in a similar situation?

    I am now enrolled in a rehabilitation program, and although there is a doctor there, they are focusing more on stretching than addressing this issue.

    Thank you for your time, and look forward to any assistance/suggestions!
    bj1208 responded:
    hi and welcome to the support group -

    I think what I would do is get another opinion from either a Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - take all your records, if you can, from before surgery to the last test you had done.

    you indicated your last test was a bone scan(?) it could be possible that this is an inflammation such as arthritis, but you would need to get another opinion just to make sure.

    if you can, try to get another opinion before you start rehab.

    please keep us posted - take care - Joy
    floridastatefan replied to bj1208's response:
    Thank you, Joy -

    will do - I have started the rehab already and of course, the concensus with them is "it's all in your head..."

    They are however going to issue a referral for a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon. Fortunately, I had the wherewithall to get copies of everything to give this to the 2nd opinion MD.

    Thank you again, and will definitely keep you posted....
    dok60 replied to floridastatefan's response:
    I have also had fusion of C5,6 & 7 with complications after due to the plate "somehow" moving and burrowing into C4 which required surgery to remove the plate. This was about 1 year from original surgery. They came about 60 seconds of killing me due to an "unexplained" bleed out in my neck cutting off my airway. When I came out of recovery I was immediately having trouble breathing. They did not listen to my complaints which resulted in emergency surgery since my airway was almost completely blocked. So a trach had to be done along with additional horrible stuff and is still the worst experience of my life having nightmares constantly and think about it daily. A lot of this could have been eliminated if I had been listened to. I HATE, HATE when I hear or read "it's all in your head". Good luck and hope things go well for you.
    floridastatefan replied to dok60's response:
    I am so sorry to hear all the difficulty you had!!!

    Since my last posting, I was actually contacted by my original surgeon. She has scheduled the follow-up scan to be performed in a few days which was welcome news. This scan will go to another Ortho. Surgeon for them to look at and come up with options. (It would have been nice if this had been done originally, then I wouldn't have had to enter this program, or had my doctors replaced by the MD at this rehab. facility).

    I am nearing the end of the intense rehab. program. This will be followed by three months of follow-up visits. The MD at the rehab facility is acting as though they are the ones responsible for the follow-up, the only issue I will have is that I will still have to continue the program even with objective findings (again, all in your head).

    Will update as they come available, and thank you to all who have responded!!!

    Best of luck to you all!!!!!
    bj1208 replied to floridastatefan's response:
    hi Florida - just wanted to give you my two cents worth on something you stated involving who is going to do the follow-ups -

    It's your body and you are the one that is employing the doctors to care for you - so it would be your choice as to who you want to do the follow-ups.

    hope this helps - please keep us posted - take care - Joy
    floridastatefan replied to bj1208's response:
    Thanks, Joy -

    I forgot to mention that the ortho. surgeon is one that my original surgeon referred me to - she said he's very honest, and won't do any surgery without good reason. Addtionally, he's at the same hospital she is through, and fortunately its one of the best.

    I am hoping that he will be able to let me know if there are any options available based on the outcome of the scan, and with any luck, get me out of the rehab program (and away from the rehab in-house MD Labor and Industries assigned to me w/o consultation), and get this corrected.

    I have not retained an atty., however, I have been in contact several times with one that has given very good advice without charging me.

    Thank you again, and I'll let you know what happens.
    floridastatefan replied to floridastatefan's response:
    Hey - Things have been crazy lately...saw the 2nd opinion MD, and the inflammation is still there, although much less than it was a year ago, which is good news...

    The 2nd opinion MD said the pain level will not change anytime in the near, or distant future...

    I have been discharged from the SIMP program for "not progressing as we see fit." And dismissing the report saying there are objective findings - only to continue to state "Somatoform response."

    Will be talking to legal counsel as the MD at the funny farm (SIMP program), is doing her version of disability for the State...we can see where this will go...

    Thanks again for all the suggestions, and will update you as things progress...signing off for now....
    bj1208 replied to floridastatefan's response:
    Hi Florida - when you say you saw second opinion "M" are you seeing just a regular MD? or are they spine specialist (Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist??)??

    reason I am asking is that if it's a regular MD they don't know how to read MRI films so they go by what the Radiologist show on the written report.

    Sometimes Radiologist may not read the MRI correctly etc., I had my Neurosurgeon doctor tell me that the Radiologist sit and look at MRI's, CT Scans etc., all day long and it's like they are looking at a Picasso painting - meaning they can mis-read them.

    so it's important that you see a spine specialist as they always go by the films and not by the written reports.

    keep us posted - take care - Joy
    floridastatefan replied to bj1208's response:
    This was an ortho. surgeon. He also stated that they could fuse one level above and below current fusion site, but that would no doubt cause further problems at those levels down the road.

    Where I sit now is there is nothing that can be done, the rehab. MD said I cannot return to my job of injury, but can return to a jpb I held making minimum wage - a job I had when I was 16. There will likely be no retraining as I have 2 years post-high school edu., so it looks like its attorney time.

    I am doubtful of anything coming of this, and like the ortho. surgeon said, "you'll have this pain for the rest of your life, time to move on."

    bj1208 replied to floridastatefan's response:
    Hi Florida -

    wow! nothing says it more than when a doctor lays it on the line and tells it like it is -

    I know no one really likes to hear "we can do this or that but the pains will be there for rest of your life"

    I still think you should get another opinion (I know they can be a pain) but get one from either Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist. Make sure they are a spine specialist as there is a difference with just an Orthopedic Surgeon or Neurosurgeon and ones that are Spine Specialist.

    Spine Specialist can and usually do have other treatments to offer along with surgeries that still leave patients in pain. Even a good Pain Management clinic (PHYSIATRISTS are good)
    can refer patients for treatments like Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants or Pain Pump Implants - these do not take away all the pains but can reduce pains up to 40% -

    Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant and Pain Pump Implants (see site) is done in 2 stages - the first is a trial to see if it does help and if so the permanent implant is done.

    Spinal Cord Stimulator:

    Pain Pump Implant:

    These are just a couple of treatment options that may help reduce pains. The Spinal Cord Stimulator, I believe, may not be available for Cervical Spine problems but I may be wrong.

    And yes, I think you should get an attorney - as I am assuming this is a work related injury - be sure you get an attorney that handles WORKERS COMP CLAIMS only. and they will be able to get you to the right doctors etc for proper diagnosis and treatment options. and plus too, they will look out for your best interest. Workers Comp Insurance only looks after the company and not the employees.

    I hope and pray you can get the answers and pain relief you are looking for. Also, do as much research on the internet as you can - this way you will know more about your spine problems and what can be done, etc.,

    keep us posted - take care - Joy
    bj1208 replied to bj1208's response:
    Hi Florida, again -

    my correction - I had stated the spinal cord stimulator may not be available for cervical spine problems - but I was thinking of a TENS Unit which cannot be used for cervical spine issues -

    floridastatefan replied to bj1208's response:
    Hi Joy - Yes, I've been down that road with the TENS unit. L&I stopped covering them a year ago January, claiming they do't help (they did for me, but thast's just typical of the system). This is an O-T-J injury, and like I said, there seems very little that can be done.

    Fortunately, the doctor I now have as a primary is a spine & pain mgmt. specialist, and he seems to know what he's doing. At least he got me back on a regimen that is helping-not like the MD at the rehab. place that was stuck on "it's all in your head, and the reason you are in pain is bacause of the pain medicine you're taking." This place even has you working to the point of pain in order to "break through that barrier, and you won't hurt anymore-just lift more weights."

    Anyway, thanks for the input. I'll run it by this doctor the next appt. and see what options he may suggest.

    Thanks again!
    bj1208 replied to floridastatefan's response:
    and keep ur options open for the attorney for workers comp claims only - I still believe that employees need to look out for themselves as workers comp insurance only looks out for the company's best interest and not the employees -

    keep us posted - take care - Joy
    floridastatefan replied to bj1208's response:
    Yes, this attorney only deals with L&I - I have been talking with him over the past six months or so, and the guy is pretty smart from what I can tell so far. His firm has a good track record, so he's gotta be better than a guy who still advertises out of Tacoma, that I used for something on a much smaller scale and the benefits were not as advertised, if you know what I mean - those in the South King County and Pierce County who have been injured know how small settlements can be with certain small attorney firms. Avoid firms that share mall parking lots.

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