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Surgery to be proactive?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had a car accident in Oct. 2008, and MRI I had in Nov. revealed disc herniation in the C5 -6 area. I have occasional neck pain when I work long hours but haven’t experienced other more severe symptoms (numbness in arms, no sensation on finger tips, etc) yet.

I have seen three neuro surgeons so far. I am especially confused with the recommendation of the 2 nd doctor: anterior discectomy and fusion. According to him, even if my pain is manageable now, it may get worse down the road, and the herniation may cause damage to the surrounding nerves, which can be hard to repair.

I want to avoid surgery as much as possible, but his comments make me think for two reasons:

1.I am planning to return to school full-time next spring and won’t have the generous health insurance that I currently have.
2.Car insurance company will cover the medical cost only up to two years after the accident.

As you can see, my dilemma comes mostly from the economic reasons. I have been debating though if the surgery is worth the risk.

Has anyone had neck surgery to be proactive?

I’d appreciate if someone can offer me advice on this matter.

Thank you for reading.


  • Hi Koi,
    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Surgery is a very personal decision and should not be taken lightly. The second surgeon who recommended this surgery did they explain all the risk that go with it as well. Operating on the spine is serious business. Did they explain the risk of one surgery can lead to more surgeries? Fusing the spine forever changes the structure and mechanics of the spine. What other types of treatments did they offer you? In my opinion someone who has been through it and done it surgery should be used if all conservative methods fail. I have seen many members come and use conservative treatments and are out and busy with normal everyday life. I do understand your economic concerns but you need to understand the risk of surgery as well. I am not trying to scare you by any means but want you to understand what can happen as well. What I think is you need to seek some legal advice and see what options you have of waiting. The damage your cervical spine sustained in the accident has been documented. If i was in your shoes, I would be getting some legal advice. I think possible you just to have medical treatment before the 2 years expires and if you are under the ungoing care of a doctor for the accident there isn't much they can do. No suit to my knowledge can even begin to settle till the medical part is over. To my knowledge depending on the state you are in, that is a civil matter. As long as the suit has been filed and you are under going medical treatment not much they can do to settle it, even if it is conservative treatment.

    Welcome to spine health. good luck and keep us posted on how your doing and what you decide on.
  • Hi tamtam! Thanks for your advice. The second surgeon did explain the risks associated with the spine surgery but didn't offer other types of treatments. The first surgeon sent me to a few sessions of physical therapy and massage, but since they weren't easing my pain, we stopped pursuing that route. I have a lawyer representing me on this case, but I get a feeling that he wants me to go ahead and get surgery so that he gets paid. I will check with my lawyer though if the two year timeline can be extended while I continue to receive conservative treatments. The neck pain comes and goes, but so far, they are manageable with ibuprofen. I will keep you posted. Thank you again for your input.
  • I have a situation somewhat similar to yours. I was ran off the road by a semi in Sept. '08. I had to have surgery immediately however to stop the spinal cord compression that I was experiencing. I too have a lawyer and if I thought for one minute that he had wanted me to pursue surgery to pad his pocket he would have been fired. I would think that he could work something out with your insurance company if you are pursuing a more conservative route and just aren't comfortable yet with the idea of surgery. I think that our bodies have a DEFINITE way of pursuading us to have surgery when the time is right. Just let your body be your guide. Don't rush into anything because like tamtam said it's definitely a very personal decision that too many of us here have had to make. And once fused that's pretty much it. You can't turn back if the results aren't exactly what you had hoped for. So those are just a few more things to think about. Don't let any outside influences like a lawyer or insurance company dictate these decisions for you. After all you are the only one that has to live the rest of your life in that body of yours. I know that you will find many here who will be so helpful and supportive of whatever decsion you make. Again welcome and we look forward to hearing from you.
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