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What are the Signs of Failed Cervical Fusion?

12 Jul, 2022

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Overview

When considering spine surgery, it is important to do everything possible to correct the problem for the very first time. During the first surgical procedure, the chances of success are always higher. However, after any kind of spine surgery, a percentage of patients may still experience intractable pain or other complications. This is called a "failed back" or "failed fusion surgery." Here we’ve discussed the causes and the signs of failed fusion surgery with our expert spine surgeons.

Why do you need to undergo spinal fusion surgery?

Spinal fusion is used to treat or relieve the symptoms of a variety of spinal problems. The procedure eliminates mobility between the two vertebrae that have been treated. This may reduce flexibility, but it is useful for treating spinal disorders that cause pain when moving. Among these disorders are:

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  • Spinal stenosis
  • Disc herniation
  • Arthritic disc disease
  • Fractured vertebrae may be causing instability in your spinal column
  • Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
  • Kyphosis (abnormal rounding of the upper spine)
  • Due to severe arthritis, tumors, or infections, the spine may become weak or unstable.

One such commonly performed spinal fusion surgery is Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Surgery(ACDF).

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What are the causes of failed back or neck surgery?

A number of factors can contribute to a failed back or neck surgery, and in order to maximize the chances of successful corrective surgery, it is important to understand why the first surgery was unsuccessful.


Below we’ve mentioned a few common potential causes of failed neck or back surgery:

  • Recurrent (reoccurring) disc herniation
  • Instability or abnormal movement
  • Adjacent level disc rupture or herniation
  • Fracture at or near a fusion
  • Leakage of spinal fluid
  • Pseudarthrosis
  • Failure of an instrument
  • Epidural hematoma

Also, Read - Cerebral Palsy Symptoms in Babies - Risk Factor, Prevention, Treatment

What are the symptoms of failed cervical fusion surgery?

Cervical fusion surgery has been very successful for many people. People who did not have a good outcome from their surgery experienced increased neck pain, neck instability, and bone spurs. In some cases, they have also been advised that more fusion is required for fixing the failed one.

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As per our expert spine surgeon, the following are the symptoms of failed cervical fusion surgery:

  • Sinus headache and posture problems after surgery: This may happen due to hardware failure or surgery-caused nerve damage. The reason should be investigated and ruled out. Following that our experts will focus on the adjacent neck segments to see whether the fusion caused such condition of worsening neck instability or not.
  • Delayed and progressively worsening neurological problems: As described by our expert neurosurgeons, three male patients suffering from cervical spondylosis underwent cervical fusion surgery around six to eleven years earlier.

However, as per reports, after a period of initial improvement, the patients experienced relatively rapid clinical deterioration. All three patients were admitted with severe quadriparesis (severe weakness and function problems in both arms and legs) and were wheeled to the hospital (they could not walk.)

In these cases, more surgery was required to fix such issues. The patients underwent a successful atlantoaxial and C2-C3 fixation, and they were able to walk independently again 21 months after the new surgery.

Can you consider a second revised back surgery after a failed fusion surgery?

It is important for patients suffering from Failed Neck & Back Surgery Syndrome to try to understand which of the potential causes are responsible for a failed surgery. Understanding and prioritizing each of these factors, as well as attempting to optimize as many as possible, can greatly improve one's chances of success. The revision or "redo surgical procedures" is more technically difficult and complex than original surgical procedures, but in many cases can still provide a significant improvement in a patient's quality of life.


How can we help with the treatment?

If you are in search of spine surgery treatment in India, we will serve as your guide throughout your medical treatment and will be physically present with you even before your treatment begins. The following will be provided to you:

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  • Prior appointment with specialists
  • Assistance with hospital formalities
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Our team is dedicated to offering the highest quality health trip and care to our patients. We have a team of highly qualified and devoted health professionals that will be by your side from the beginning of your journey.

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