Will my mom ever be able to turn her head again? She has 2 titanium bars drilled from her shoulders to the back of her skull.We were hit by a drunk driver in 2004. She went through the windsheild head first and broke her neck. She can't turn her head at all. Can't look up. She can't even yawn. Her head is stuck in one position. Is there that can be done like cadaver bones or flexible titanium ? I hate to see her cry because she's not normal like every one else.
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Yes mam I am. She's been like this since 2004, & things have only gotten worse since then. We were in Huntsville,AL. We had to move to Chattanooga, TN because the doctors wouldn't help her with pain at all. We are still in urgent need of knowing if there is anything that can be done. I know there has got to be something that will allow her to turn her head again. So yes mam. My email XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX. Please help if you can.
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Hi there. I am happy to answer your question. I am an Orthopedic Surgeon and would like to help answer your questions. Please understand that the information that I provide is for educational and informational purposes and is not treatment or meant to substitute for being treated by a live physician. I get online once a day and therefore please bear with me if you post and I haven't responded yet. I will in due time. Please do not accept until you have had your question answered in a satisfactory fashion.
It sounds like your mother had a very severe injury. Connect the neck to the base of the skull, also known as, cervical-occipital fusion, is a procedure reserved for significant instability of the neck. Without a stable set of neck bones - the cervical spine bones - the spinal cord will be susceptible to injury and paralysis. Thus, in a severe injury, stability is what is most important, not achieving range of motion.The general rule of thumb after such a fusion procedure is 30 to 50% loss of neck flexion/extension (bending the neck down or up) and 10 to 20 degrees of lateral rotation and 10 degrees of lateral bending.The procedure itself has a high complication rate including nonunion - nonhealing of the bones or lack of fusion.The neck is a complicated set of bones that are normally connected by discs and ligaments. Injury of these such as your mother had puts the patient at risk for paralysis thus the treatment is stabilizing it through fusion of all of the bones of the neck by implanting rods and allowing the bones to heal together. Essentially a successful surgery means having one block of continuous bone from the shoulders to the base of the skull. This protects the spinal cord.Unfortunately, once the fusion occurs, there is not likely to be an additional motion gain. The current rods are buried in bone at this point and should not be removed otherwise she risks losing the fusion. Flexible rods are not an option because the whole point is to fuse the neck in an inflexible way. Using cadaver bone is not an option because the bones of the neck are already fused together.Without seeing your mother or knowing the full story I would offer that the good news is that she is alive and has a stable neck. The best option for her at this point would be to help her with her pain and to understand the cause of the pain. Has her surgeon confirmed to her that her neck is fused and the surgery was successful? The number one reason for pain after a fusion is lack of fusion or malunion. If she is indeed fused then the source of the pain could be from prominent hardware or prominent metal. If the hardware is not the source of the pain, then she should see a pain management specialist. She may benefit from strong medications and/or injections into the spinal canal.I hope I have been able to answer your question. If you would like me to look at her recent xrays I would be willing to take a look if you post them in a separate question for me. The best way to reach me via a new question is to put my username in the question title "For Orthosportsdoc Only". Thanks.