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Loss of muscle function after c-5/6 Laminectomy Will i recover?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 01/17/2016 - 1:42 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Been 16 days since my lamanectomy with no fusion. Have a lot of weakness in right hand wrist ,forearm, tricept, bicep,chest and shoulder. I'm extremely concerned, because this wasnt the case prior to surgery. The bone spurs had flattened the nerve exiting c5-6 like a pancake. The Dr. sais there is a chance i might not ever get all my strength back but probable. Talk about leaving the door open!

The nerve was damaged 8 yrs. ago and then the spurs started to grow. I was able to maintain an function with 2 x's a week deep tissue therapy and chyro adjustments this past year. Apparently too good because my Dr. said i let it go too long.

He along with 4 other Dr's wanted to fuse 5-6, 6-7. After surgery he indicated that even if he fused from the front , he would still have to do the posterior lamanectomy do to the bone spurring he wouldn't be able to reach from the anterior fusion. He was amazed that i was able to even function as i was able this long after seing the pancaked nerve.

Now he tells me to be patient which i understand but it has totally hit me by surprise that i may lose some permanent muscle function. Anyone had similar situation and then how long till the muscles came back? I have numbness also in thumb and index finger along with a patch on my forearm and tricep. Why in the world am i ending up with loss of muscle function when it was hardly noticeable before, since all he did is make more room for the nerve and relieved the pressure? He sais he didnt touch the nerve but did explain how difficult it was to get at. I own a house painting business and am a proffesional drummer and have 3 little children. All i can do is hope. Im off pain pills. I just dont have any strength even in flexing my right arm muscles. Feels scary.


  • So sorry you are having such a miserable time. It is an issue how long the nerve had been compressed before surgery was done. 8yrs is a very long time. You need to remember that nerve recovery can take a very long time. My neurosurgeon said you can guesstimate a recovery of 1mm per day --- leaving a longterm recovery in the realm of the possible.
    Keep thinking positive and follow all the rules. No BLT etc until they can see some improvement in the fusion. There is a risk of permanent damage, but there is also the potential of regaining more sensation and strength over time.

    I was fortunate that my ACDF C4-C7 with titanium plate and screws was a great success. I was pain free within 3 hrs of the surgery. I know that this is definitely not the norm and many more have extensive recovery times. Hope it helps to know that there are success stories out there and given time and appropriate therapy, you will see improvement.
    I'll keep you in my thoughts ---
  • kitty, thanks for your response. Im just trying to hear from someone that had a c5-6 posterior lamanectomy without fusion and came out of surgery with muscle malfunction and they improved and how long it took, God's in control, im just hoping that its in his plan for me to get my arm back. God Bless
  • Beau

    My h had posterior surgery 6 weeks ago and lost muscle function completely in his right arm. He did have C3 - 6 laminectomy and fusion, but the nerve problem stems from a complication after surgery when fluid collected in the site and compressed the nerves leading to his right arm. Prior to surgery his chief problems were in his left arm (which is now improved!). After PT 3 times per week and 6 weeks of time, he has regained a lot of the use of his arm. It is slow going though and you need to try to stay positvie and patient. At this point he can move his hand and forearm but still has not regained use of his bicep/deltoid. Next week he goes for a nerve conduction study to show where he is at now and then follows up with the NS on the 16th.
    Good luck to you and know you are not alone in dealing with such uncertainty. My h owns a roofing company and was able to climb a ladder yesterday (although I cringed with anxiety, it is what he needs to be able to do). PM us if you want to talk to him further.
  • Beau- I haven't had any type of surgery. I wanted to share with you something my physical therapist told me. He said the good thing about muscle are that if you lose 40% percent of muscle to damage the 60% left you can build that up to 120%. The muscle you do have left you can build up and regain some strength with the proper exercise.

    Are you going to be sent to physical therapy? There you will learn how to build up your muscle.
  • dhhar
    Thankyou for responding. H had a temporary nerv problem due to the temporary pressure. Mine was pinched for quite a long time and then released. Now the muscles dont function and they are in atrophy and yet your h was temporary and took so long to come back scares me even more. I will be seing a pt tue. Only God knows what will come back. But since i have lifted free weight in the gym all my life , i will work as long as it takes to get back what i can. God Bless
  • I hadn't heard about this possible outcome. I'm having a laminectomy C-3 thru C-7 on April 8th. I have had severe left arm/hand/shoulder pain for almost 3 years. My neurosurgeon says he will do a laminectomy on the left side (I'm not sure what that means exactly). I'm guessing there is a left side lamina and right side lamina.

    I can't say I've had any lasting numbness anywhere yet. I've had intermittent numbness in fingers. After a nerve conduction test a few weeks ago my DO determined I have permanent nerve damage.

    So, I will certainly share with all of you as I am able post-surgery what results come out.

  • MadeleineMMadeleine Posts: 1
    edited 01/17/2016 - 1:42 AM
    from laminectomy at C1- C2. My left arm is too weak to pick up a dish and my right arm is weak compared to how it was. My upper strength is 35% of what was. It feels like a burning sensation between left shoulder and neck chronically and the more I work, the more it feels like an excruciating numbing type of pain. Like something heavy and dead that I carry around. My braw strap won't stay up, it slips as if my arm was hanging low. It is not noticeable, posture wise. My worry now is, did something go wrong during surgery? I can't sleep on my left side and I'm in serious pain. I recently hit the back of my head on a tree and suffered a concussion and strained my neck, jeeee. It feels like I'm just out of surgery and have a collar on. Will I feel normal again? They removed a tumor from my spinal cord. Thanks, I've never shared this public [edit]

    This is an old thread, the original poster has not been on the forum for more than 6 years

    I suggest you Create a new thread

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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator
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