First a brief history
I had an posterior lumbar fusion done in 05 at L5-S1. The way the surgery was done going in through my back unfortunately seemed to destroy the musculature in my lower back leaving it very weak. Over time the pain again continued to build down my right leg and radiated up into my mid back. My legs began to feel week and I would get tremors in them as well as to a lesser degree my right arm.
January of this year I was finally limited to a wheelchair as a way to get around. I was sent to the Sheppard Spinal Clinic here in Atlanta where I was recommended to see one of the top Neurologists in the country. This gentleman did allot of testing and noticed that I had some very unusual responses in the reflex testing he did. In 5 different areas my reflexes were considered hyperactive leading him to believe I had some cervical issues that in no way had anything to do with my lower back pain.
He ordered a CT and Myelogram be done instead of an MRI because I have a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my mid spine making an MRI impossible.
The films showed the following:
Findings: The sagittal images show the vertebrae are intact and aligned, without fracture, dislocation, or lytic or sclerotic lesion. The patient has a normal appearance to the posterior elements, good alignment, but reversal of the normal cervical lordosis at the C4-through-C7 levels, with endplate osteophyte formation and near-obliteration of the disc spaces at the C4-C5, C5-C6, and the C6-C7. The patient showws prominent disc osteophyte complexes in these areas, with attenuation of the AP diameter of the spinal canal, which appears to have a congenitally reduced AP diameter, to approximately 6 mm at C5-C6, 7mm at C4-C5, and 7mm at C6-C7. Thye patient shows small uncovertebral hypertrophy of these levels; this appears to be more significant on the right than left.
Axial images confirm the above, showing abnormal appearance of the craniocervical junction and neural foamina. The mastoids and middle ears are aerated and normal, and the imaged posterior fossa shows a normal appearance.
C4-C5: Spinal canal stenosis, as described, with flattening of the ventral cord, and a somewhat triangular shape of the cervical cord. Moderate to severe right neural foraminal and moderate left neural foraminal stenosis secondary to uncovertebral hypertrophy and disc osteophyte complex.
C5-C6: Again, flattened ventral cervical cord, this finding fairly symmetric. Severe bilateral neural foraminal stenosis secondary to uncovertebral hypertrophy, and disc osteophyte complex.
C6-C7: Lesser degree of spinal canal stenosis, greater on the right than the left, bilateral mild neural foraminal stenosis.
IMPRESSION: Congenitally Short AP Diameter of the Cervical bony spinal canal, with Severe spinal canal stenosis to 6 MM, C5-C6 and lesser degrees at C4-C5 and C6-C7 of approximately 7mm. Ventral flattening of the cervical cord at these levels, and severe uncovertebral hypertrophy with neural foraminal stenosis.
This Neurologist said that in his opinion the neck problems were directly responsible for the weakness and trembling in my legs and arms. He felt that it was severe enough that without surgery to repair damage that I would lose control of both my bowels and bladder in the near future. Most likely within 12-18 months as well as the trembling and weakness reaching the point that I would effectively lose control of the lower half of my body.
I had a second opinion done despite the notoriety and acclaim of the neurologist who originally ordered the testing. The results were the same. Surgery was my only option.
The neurologist felt strongly enough about my situation that he referred me to the Professor of Neurosurgery at Emory University who I will see this week with the plan being to setup a surgery quickly.
Of course I don't yet know whether it will be anterior or posterior surgery until I meet with him or any other details. I was wondering what those of you who've had similar surgeries or conditions have to say regarding the surgery, the hospital stay, the recovery and level of success you incurred.
Sorry for any typos but the spasms make it hard to type.
Thanks for any help.