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About 4 years ago I had a fusion at Levels C4-C5; C5-C6; C6-C7. It helped some but after 8 months the pain came back. I had a discogram yesterday and they are saying level C4 is completely ruptured and that I must have this level fused. Will they most likely fuse just this one level or will they fuse all the others together with C4? I haven't spoken to my neurosurgeon yet but have an appointment in two weeks. Just curious as to your opinion. Thank you for any help you may have.


I had my first fusion, at level C4-C5 in January 2002, when I was 26. I had my second fusion, at C5-C6 and C6-C7, in December 2006. Neither surgeries were immediately caused by a car accident or other injury (though I was in several car accidents as a child and then in 2000).

My doctor recently told me that another disk is likely in the process of going out, and that I may need more surgery in the future. He also told me that this is very rare, but I am wondering if any of you have had serial disk problems like this.

I recovered quickly from the first suregery and did great for several years. I started having severe pain again in fall 2006 and had the second surgery in December 2006. My doctor replaced the disks at C5-C6 and C6-C7 with cadaver bone and used hardware that secured the entire area of both fusions (my first surgery was also with cadaver bone, but the doctor did not use hardware). I recovered more slowly from the second surgery but returned to work full-time from April or May until November 2007. At that time, 11 months after the second surgery, I suffered severe pain but the imagery did not show any problems. The neurological tests (conduction study & EEG?) showed nerve damage on the right arm, in the same area as before. The doctors disagreed about whether that was residual or new damage. It got worse and worse until February 2008, when it surpassed the pain that proceeded my surgeries. They still could not figure out why I was having so many problems. I started with a new physical therapist and began incorporating very basic yoga and meditation into my treatment. I've been feeling better (though I still have to take pain meds every day), but my strength in my right arm and hand continue to decline. My neurosurgeon told me to expect another surgery in the future - I appreciate his honesty about what to expect, so I can be prepared, not because I want to sit around and worry about this. He also told me that this is very rare, but I am wondering if any of you have had serial disk problems like this.
If so, how do you manage it? Will the lumbar disks be next?