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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I need some advice from those who have been there. My surgeon wants to perform anterior fusion at C5/C6 and C6/C7. This is after three years of PT, pain medication, massage therapy and suffering. The pain has increased greatly. I have increasing weakness in my left arm, numbness and tingling in my left hand and severe headaches. All of these symptoms have gotten more frequent over the last three years.

I am scared to death to have surgery. I hear about all the "bad" things that can happen or have happened to other people. Has anyone had longterm relief and success with this surgery?

Any advice, warning or success stories would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
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Comments

  • I personally am glad I had surgery and I am feeling better then I have in a long time. Don't get me wrong surgery really kicked my *** but I have less pain now then I have in a while. It is up to you on how much more pain you can take. I just had c5/c6 done and am getting the strenght back in my left side. I too was freaked out about the surgery. There are a lot of success stories and so far I think I am one. O:)
  • Hi Tinkerkat! I'm glad you found SpineHealth,

    I can tell you I have found lots of help on this site so hang in there and I'm sure you will to.
    You can P.M. anytime if you would like.Patsy
  • I went thru the PT and all that fun stuff. I also had 3 opinions (just wanted to make sure for my own peace of mind) and all 3 doctors concurred on having surgery.

    I had my ACDF back in July. Same discs as you are looking at too. Yes, I had my doubts, fear, and probably everything else you feel and I'm glad I did it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a cake walk right after surgery but you have to have a positive approach when making this type of decision. I walked 3 miles a day every day and I think that has really helped in my feeling better.

    I still have some numbness and tingling but it could take up to a year for everything to come back. My nerve was compressed and I had bone spurs on C6 and C7.

    If you have to be out of work, take your time going back if you can. My DO had me out for 9 weeks. No heavy lifting, bending way over, putting things up over your head..etc. I was also in an Aspen collar 23 hours a day for 6 weeks. As a matter of fact, I still use it once in a while if I feel a little tired. The doctor said it would be ok, but not to rely on it for much longer.

    Any way, that's my story. I'm sure there's more you may want to ask about. This is a very helpful forum and a lot of others will have their stories for you soon I'm sure.
  • Sounds like you have tried a lot and given it some time to get better. If you are getting worse and doctors tell you need surgery. Ask them what you're chances are of improvement. If its good chance for improvement go for it, look where you are going after three years. I look at it like this, i try all I can to get better without surgery and misrable. I go to a couple doctors for out look with surgery and they tell me they see the problem and surgery should help, for me I'm going for surgery and chance to be out of misery. I'm so glad i did the ACDF even though i'm not 100% , at least i'm mostly pain free and can do things again. No way would have i wanted to live with that muscle in a knot. Its definitly serious surgery but for most not that bad. For me my hernia surgery was more painful than ACDF even though the ACDF was more serious. I'm probly going to have to get the level above done someday since it is not to good even before my ACDF. Soon as symtoms are bad enough and surgeon says need surgery just going for the surgery. Watch the weakness! When my arm went weak, i was told if I waited too long I may permanitly have weakness even with the surgery. As it was it took about 1 month of PT to get streagth back in arm. Reflexs never came back.
  • Welcome to spine-health. You will find a lot of members who are compassionate and understand the pain you are going through. Surgery is a very personal choice and not a easy one to make. It is natural to be scared of the unknown. Most important is to feel comfortable with your surgeon and to completely understand the procedure they are performing. On your next visit prepare a had of time a list of questions with all your concerns. If your not sure of a list here is a direct link to get you started http://www.spine-health.com/blog/sleep-and-insomnia/38-questions-ask-your-surgeon-having-back-surgery. Yes there are many members you seeing posting about problems but many have over come those problems that come with post op surgery. Not to mention many members have long since left the boards and returned to normal busy everyday living. If your nervous about talking with the surgeon take a spouse or a friend often two sets of ears are better than one and sometimes that person may think of things you may not have or can help keep your appointment on track. Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide and welcome to spine-health.
  • I hear you loud and clear, I too am facing acdf on C5&6, however I have only just begun the alternative treatment battle as my injury was in June of 08, finally saw a NS in September who said ACDF or, do nothing, see a chiro, a PT, accupuncture etc... Ive been working with a chiro, doing exercises with weights, and my M.D. put me on an anti inflamitory which for the most part has stopped pain. There are days though when my neck just plain hurts (not as bad as June/July/August) but makes me start second guessing my choice of alternative treatment vs. surgery. My C-6 is considered a large herniation of 6mm according to the MRI report anyway, and the tingles and numbness vary, some days is my whole index finger, middle finger and part of my hand, other days its just the tip of my index finger, and boy oh boy when I move my head just right I can get the whole left arm tingling like mad!! But for now I think Im going to continue with anything but the surgery, although there are days I just want to call the NS up and say Ive had enough of this crap (only been 4 months tough) and tell him to cut those disks out! You have been at this much longer than I have, you also have 3 opinions I guess it boils down to whether or not you have had enough of all this yet and move forward with the surgery. Im thinking that eventually I will get to that point too. I work with a lady who had one level done 12 yrs ago, she said they just put a cadaver bone in her neck, no hardware, had to wear a collar for a couple weeks (soft one) and that was that, she has not had any further problems with her neck and her advice is "just do it" you will feel better afterward, its more likely that you will be absolutely fine after surgery than not according to the odds of success, but again its a difficult personal choice FOR SURE! Good luck to you and to all of us dealing with this difficult decision.
  • Hello There,
    I just posted to you in the Welcome area.

    I recently just had my 2 level ACDF and I have not had any arm weakness and buring on the left side of my neck since the surgery.

    Since my surgery was on 9-3 of this year and I am still in a hard collar and not able to drive or do PT yet it is hard to access how much relief I have.

    What I can tell you is that there is IMPROVEMENT so far and I like that Idea!!!!

    At this time I am still having pain, but there were some areas of my neck that still have problems but were not bad enough at this time to do any surgical intervention there.

    I never expected to get complete relief from my surgery, but I am feeling better than I did before.

    It is going to be a long road with the PT etc., but I feel things are getting better. My Pain is Different and the pain levels bounce around a lot, but I am being way more active then before my surgery!!! Yeah! I love to walk and after my accident I was unabel to walk or go to the gym anymore.
    Now I am back to walking anywhere from 1-3 miles a day! Huge improvement.

    Please feel free to PM me anytime for support or questions??
    Chrissy
  • To make a long story short, I have been suffering from a "loss of balance" feeling for about 2 years now. Not too much pain at all. I have seen every kind of doctor under the sun and none of them could find out what was wrong with me. I am already a neuro patient from having a benign brain tumor removed back in 1985 which left me somewhat paralyzed of all fine motor coordination on the left side of my body. So of course, all docs pointed their fingers at that and my neuro had/has me on Trileptal since I have eratic brain waves....(whew taking breathe)...

    Mid September of this year, i started to get neck stiffness and the floating/loss of balance feelings got worse and more frequent. On the 16th, I got sharp pains shooting up the back of my head and ears so bad that I checked into the ER. Of course they did their thing with blood work etc etc and stuck me into a cervical MRI.

    Cha-ching...ruptured disk at C6 and C7 causing moderate spinal cord compression. so i was reffered to an orthoprdic who in turn said and i quote.."oh it's not too bad, some PT and injections will fix you up and come back in see me in 6 weeks)...I went 3 days afterwards to the "Injector"...he reviewed my case, and refused to give me an injection because of the compression!...Talk about feeling empty. He made me an urgent appointment with a neuro surgeon the following day. At this point I am pretty much freaking out so I called my regular Neurologist and he took me right in. He reviewed my MRI and said "well it's not too bad, but it is bad. Go see this doctor and get an EMG"... Now I am really at a loss, so I keep the appointment with the neuro surgeon that the "injector" set me up with. He didnt look at my scans for more than 2 minutes and turned right away and said, we need to operate. Discectomy with fusion and decompression at c6 and c7.

    So I cancelled all other appointments with the "golf course" doctors and this cominf monday, I go in for the ACDF. I am scared beyond belief so I can compare in to your story 100%.

    Again, I am sorry this went on for so long. I will let you know the outcome as soon as I can get on the computer after surgery. Like I read in this forum so many times already, it's only going to get worse if you don't do anything about it now.

    Dan
  • YES YES YES my cervical was POSITIVE. It was the best decision I ever made in my life =D>

    The headaches went away. Then numbness/tingling and pain.
    I occasionally get some numbness here and there but that is from sleeping wrong or typing wrong and it goes away in a few seconds.

    I also jumped on the band wagon and went for it within 3 months. So I did not wait. The numbness scared me to much..

    So both of you / or whoever is considering this surgery weigh your con's and pro's. If its interferring in your daily life style and all other treatments have been used with no success then yes surgery is usually your last option.

    Please discuss this over with your Dr and do your homework!!!

    Hang in there
    Terri O:) >:D<
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