I had a cervical spine fusion at C45 six months ago. This morning I was in a hurry to get to work and ran smack dab into the garage door (it wasn't open all the way). I don't have a headache, but I'm scared to death that I undid the surgery. What should I do now?
You can always call your surgeon and ask for an exam. Imaging such as an X-ray or MRI may be ordered. But the surgeon may also be able to tell what's going on by comparing the results of your last tests with your current clinical presentation.
He or she will carefully assess your motion, muscles, and joints. Specific clinical signs of fusion disruption are not real obvious right away. Pain (neck and head) pain are the usualy first signal to watch out for.
Most neck fusions have a good start after six months, but complete fusion isn't likely for another six months. Since you only had one level fused, it's likely that you did not have plates and screws to hold the fusion together.
Bone graft and/or stand-alone titanium cages are used most often for a single level fusion. This approach tends to be less stable than the locking or dynamic plate used with multiple level fusions. No matter what type of fusion you had, it's more than likely the surgeon will adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Unless there are obvious signs of instability, the chances are good that nothing happened to disrupt the fusion site.
Fabio Galbusera, MSEng, et al. Anterior Cervical Fusion: A Biomechanical Comparison of 4 Techniques. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. November 2008. Vol. 9. No. 5. Pp. 444-449.
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