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3 months post-op, whats going on!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Well I am 3 months post-op from a 2 level Anterior Cervical Foraminotomy, and I have not seen any improvement in my symptoms that were present before Surgery. What is going on, I know it takes along time for the nerves to heal, But could someone please explain to me why my symptoms are the exact same as before Surgery. I have numbness in my left index finger that varies at times from a level 2 to level of 10 numbness at different times of the day. If my nerves at that level that caused these original symptoms, C5-C7 were truly decompressed, then I could understand my symptoms remaining at a constaint level of numbness or pain until the nerve healed.

Has anybody experienced any of this type of symptoms after surgery to decompress the nerves, where the pain level or numbness fluctuates, It just seems to me that once the nerves are decompressed, then the symptoms would remain constaint and as they repair then the symptoms would subside at a decreasing level. I am getting very impatient and feeling like the surgery was a waste of my time and Money. I do not know what to do. My doctor does not know why I am not getting better, and has put me on Neurotin to try to help control the nerve pain. Does anybody ever get better from these surgerys! Why continue to do them if they do not help!

Thanks for listening, and please post your responses.


  • Hi apbart,
    You must be beside yourself. I would imagine that you feel let down and deceived. I have heard that from people before. 3 surgeons have told me that surgery is very individual, and results vary a great deal. One told me that if I have surgery the pain won't improve much at all because the nerves continue to fire long after getting the surgery--even though the problem is solved. In some cases, people get relief right away. In others, it takes lots of time. I have also heard that nerves are kind of fragile, and if they were to have too much pressure for too long, they could be permanently damaged. So, if nothing else, the pressure is off, preventing you from experiencing paralysis (not sure where your nerve impingement was). I hope and pray that in time you will get some relief. I know many folks taking neurontin. Some say it works fantastic, some say it just made them feel crazy. Again, it is individual. Keep trying, keep hoping, and keep praying! Hang in there baby! Praying for you....
  • I'm so sorry you continue having the same symptoms. does your surgeon give you any suggestions? I'm a little surprised that you have had NO pain relief whatsoever. How about the weakness in your arm? has that improved at all?

    My suggestion would be to ask for a post op MRI to be done just to rule out that there isn't anything else going on. Also, a 2nd set of eyes looking at your case may be a good idea. Not to say that your surgeon is wrong, but rather that it would be reassuring to know that he is not missing something.

    I'm curious why they only did a foraminotomy and not fusion? Did you have bone spurs causing the problem? Or did you have disc herniations or bulges?

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I am so sorry to hear of your frustrations with the surgery. It is so discouraging when you finally make the decision to have the surgery, go through all the post op healing process just to feel the same. I can totally sympathize with you.

    Has your surgeon suggested doing a nerve test to check for permanent nerve damage? If not, maybe this is something you could suggest it be done.

    Hang in there. You are still early in your healing so hopefully your nerves just need time to heal. I've heard it can take a year for nerves to heal if they've been impinged. Let's just hope and pray that is all it is.
  • Hi Apbart:

    I am very sorry to hear you continue to have major problems this long after major surgery to correct your problem. I don't have answers. I wish for you a full recovery as quickly as possible!

    In my case I have not had surgery yet. I am hoping for it very soon. I was told last week I have extensive permanent nerve damage. But the doctor did say I'd need the surgery to prevent further serious problems.

    My wish for you is you heal from this time on until your injury is fully healed!

    Ken GreyEagle
  • I would like to thank all of you that replied to my post and will address each of you, below.

    Ouch, thanks for the prayers and my impingement was at C5-C7 on the left side, left arm and fingers, index and thumb. I can only hope that time will heal these nerves, Yes the neurotin is starting to help with the nerve pain.

    Cindy, I have not had any pain relief from surgery yet, but the neurotin is helping, the left arm weakness did improve right after surgery and continues to improve everyday, so that is real good. My surgeon did suggest a post mri at the 4 months post-op. I consulted with as many 7 different surgeons before surgery, in my home state the only surgery that was offered was a 2 level fusion, the out of state surgeons had different ideas, my symptoms only were conclusive for unilateral left arm radiculopathy, although my mri showed left foraminal stenosis and central canal stenosis (mild). The doctor I felt most confident with recommended the foraminotomy first. And if that worked and I needed more surgery in the future that hopefully we will have perfected the multilevel ADR, and I would not need a fusion. He said that I may never need fusion and my do fine with the foraminotomy with an 85% success rate, I liked this option first. I had a bone spur at c6 and a herniation at c7, again symptoms only on one side. Thanks again for your input.

    Ming, Time will hopefully be my friend and heal these damaged nerves. Yes my doctor did recommend a EMG, but that would be several months down the road. Thanks for your reply and prayers.

    Ken GreyEagle, My wish for you is when you do have surgery that it is a very successful one. Do not what to long you need to stop the damage that is happening, and do not be concerned about this type of surgery, fusion or what ever the doctors have recommended. Do your resource and forge ahead with confidence. If I had it to do over again, I would do it the same way again, even with the outcome I have had to date. Best wishes to you.

    Best to all and continued Healing!

  • i had a three level fusion ,i had compression at all three levels.I was told that after the nerves are decompressed during the surgery that there is a lot of swelling for months after.That may explain why you have changes in pain level during your day.It takes a very long time for nerves to heal after surgery.Good luck with the pain,i was on neurotin for a long time before my surgery and it really helped me get through my days.
  • Abhart,
    I agree with Tammy. I had a two-level over a year ago. I did not really feel better until the 6 month mark. I still have flare ups. I think it will always be a weak point and will have to be careful not to get those muscles in a funk. Even now I am experiencing coming and going nerve sensations from that tingling crawling feeling to pain. I have not been back to the doc so I can't really say if this is normal, but my logic says it is. Good luck and don't give up. Give it another few months and maybe you will get some relief.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,368
    I was told that the time for nerves to return anywhere normalacy is equal to the amount of time that they were compressed .... do the math and you will have an aproximate amount of time, till your symptoms truley subside. I was in pain for 15 years before my first surgery ... I anticipate that i will die with this pain .... now only controlled by medication ... rather heavy medication.

    Good Luck & prayers

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  • Hi All! It's been a very long time since I have posted on here and the site has changed a lot! Anyhoo, I had ACDF surgery C5-C7, donor bone graft, and have a lovely titanium plate souvenir November of '07. I have been doing absolutely wonderful since then. I have virtually been pain free. My only complaint is that my right pointer finger tip is still numb and aches. Sometimes the numbness and the achiness will work its way down to the middle knuckle. Sometimes it hurts (little zings) into my nail bed. Now it feels like it's sort of affecting my forearm a little bit. It's more annoying than anything. I know that nerve damage takes a long time to get better and that it may not get better at all. Here's my question. Is there anything that can be done for this? I think after 2 1/2 years I have waited long enough for this to improve. I am totally glad for the surgery I had and don't regret it for a minute. I am wondering what other people may have learned about residual finger pain/nerve damage and if they have done anything. I really have nothing to complain about in comparison. The numbness doesn't bother me as much as the achiness. Thanks for any suggestions! Sheila
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