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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes electric shocks after the C5-C6 and C6-C7 ACDF for treating CSM?

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Dr. Praveen Tayal

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 11556 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 30 Aug 2018 in Back Pain
Question: Hi, I had CSM and underwent C5-C6 and C6-C7 ACDF. Approximately 15 hours after surgery, I began to feel excruciatingly painful electric shocks. The shocks occurred every 10 to 15 minutes and lasted for almost 12 hours. The doctor treated me with steroids and then the shocks subsided. I am interested in what causes electric shocks (I do not have MS). Following steroid treatment on post op day 1, I was released from the hospital. On post op day 2 , I lost all strength in my legs and then became incontinent. I presented to ER. Eventually I underwent revision corpectomy surgery to further decompress the spine. Afterwards my pain subsided. No explanation of electric shocks was given. One doctor friend of mine thought that post surgery inflammation was the cause. In my research there are not many patients who experience electric shocks. What are your thoughts on the cause of my electric shocks as they relate to the cervical spine? From my searches, it appears I experienced electric shock symptoms similar to people who describe electric shocks with occipital neuralgia or lhermitte's syndrome. However most back pain patients do not describe feelings of electric shock like I experienced, but rather stabbing or burning pain. Thanks for your thoughts.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Detail below.

Detailed Answer:

Hi,
Thanks for posting your query.
I have gone through your query in detail,cause of electric shocks after surgery are
1.Post surgery inflammation.
2.Post surgery heamatoma.
3. Lhermitte's phenomenon.
4.Idiopathic.

I hope this answers your query. Let me know if I can assist you further
Wishing you good health.

Regards.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Praveen Tayal 13 hours later
Dr. Tayal:
Thanks for your reply. I suspect inflammation as doc said my post surgery blood fluid was normal and there was no disease. Steroids worked. Can post-op inflammation cause compression and ischemia? Could I have had a spinal cord stroke? Thanks for helping me understand what happened to me. Kirk Short
doctor
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Ischaemia or stroke is not likely.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing again.
Post op inflammation can cause a local swelling resulting in compression but it is unlikely to cause any ischaemia.
A spinal cord stroke can happen with anyone but there are certain predisposing factors which aggravate this problem. It is not related to the cervical issues and the surgery.
Hope my answer is helpful.

Regards.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Follow up: Dr. Praveen Tayal 31 hours later
Hello Dr. Tayal:

My revision corpectomy (a partial C5, C6, and partial C7) to decompress my spinal cord occurred eight days after my first C5-6, C6-7 ACDF surgery. All my pain subsided, but I had to retrain myself to walk because I had lost all strength in my legs. Two years later I am now ambulatory but still have tetra paresis, balance issues, and loss of light feeling from chest down to my toes. Could the prolonged post-op inflammation and pressure on my spinal cord have caused my permanent loss of strength and feeling?

Thank you again for helping me understand.

Kirk
doctor
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Inflammation alone is less likely to cause a permanent damage.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

The permanent loss of sensations and strength is less likely to be caused by inflammation alone as you were started with steroids after the surgery. The steroids are strongest anti inflammatory agents and do help in recovering the swelling and inflammation. But such a permanent loss can happen if it is associated with fibrosis or damage to the nerves or blood supply.

Take care,
Dr. Praveen Tayal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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