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When is it necessary to have Cervical Spine Surgery?

RosarianRRosarian Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I have had a 4 level Fusion, S1/L5 to L2 ,in my Lumbar Spine to correct severe DDD and isthmic Spondylolithesis as well as Scoliosis.
During the last 5-6 Years I have had progressively more and more painful Episodes of Neck,Shoulder and Arm Pain,also caused by severe DDD from C3/4 to C6/7.I have bulging Discs at the same Levels. :( Since I have been advised by my Surgeon,not to do anything about the Pain right now,until such a Time ,when I find it necessary to pursue Surgery,I am really quite confused as to when the "right Time" would be. :/ What would be the deciding factor and what Things would I not be able to do,before I pursue Surgery?I am also very reluctant and afraid to have cervical Spine Surgery,as there seem to be a lot of Risks involved. :S
Perhaps someone,who has gone through Neck Surgery can explain things to me and maybe answer my Questions?I would really appreciate that.
Thank you


  • Hi Rosarian.

    The decision for me to have surgery was mainly my surgeon's. After looking at my MRI, he said it wasn't a matter of "if" I had surgery, but "when." I was having 24/7 tingling in my entire right arm, weakness in my left arm and was a bit clumsy. I decided in Sept. to have surgery and scheduled it for Oct. 21. In that one month's time, I almost lost complete use of my left arm. I believe that if I hadn't chosen to have surgery, I probably would've permanently lost my left arm. I consider my surgery and complete success and am very glad I had it done when I had it done.

    Hope this helps in some small way. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or just need to talk.

  • Thank you,Cath,your reply was very helpful.
  • I finally decided to have surgery after all the non surgical options stopped doing me any good (PT, Epidural injections etc). Once I finally did see the surgeon like Cath for me it was a matter of when and not if!!

    I also at this point wish I had done it sooner there is some weakness in my left arm that may or may not come back.
  • In my case the pain was pretty bad, but the determining factor was the severe weakness in my left arm and hand. I had surgery within 3 weeks of the onset of the symptoms, and do not at this point (5 1/2 months post-op) if the nerve damage is permanent. In my opinion, you don't want to go too long when nerve damage is present.
  • My doctor and I decided that it was the right time to have Cervical surgery, I did not want to loose any more feeling in my fingers and the pain was getting to the point I did not want to live on pain meds. It is a very personal decision and only you know what your pain tolerance is.
    I had cervical surgery last March and now am waiting for a surgery date for lumbar surgery. Last March I had no idea that I would be facing another surgery so soon.
    I did not have any major setbacks with the cervical surgery and did not think it was too bad. Mine was an anterior approach, which was good, during the surgery the surgeon does not have to get very close to the spinal cord like with a posterior approach. That is why they use the anterior approach. It was not a bad recovery either, I was out of work about 6 weeks and then started back part-time and by 8 weeks back full time.
    Please PM if you have any questions, I will be glad to answer. I hope you have a great outcome whatever you decide is best for you.
    Take care,
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