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Posterior Surgery

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Guys

My first surgeon is proposing posterior (from the back) sugery to corrected a herniated disc at t1/t2. He says it is high enough that he can get it from the back and that he won't need to do a fusion.

Anyone with experience in posterior surgeries? He says there is more post-op pain because of all the muscles that are moved but that the overall results are better and worth the pain.

Thanks for your thoughts


  • Hi kris,

    Is the surgeon proposing doing a posterior frominatomy. He is correct in saying the surgery is a bit harder on you from the posterior. Worst is the muscle spasms. Sounds the like the level they are at would be the best approach. Plus without the fusion surgery you won't be worrying about adjacent disc disease.
  • Hi Kris,

    I had a posterior fusion of c4 - t1 on 11/2/09 and I am doing pretty good. I still have soreness and stiffness but I managed to quit taking pain medication 2 days ago. It hasn't been very long since my procedure but I would do it again. The pain and numbness I had in my arms is gone now.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

  • If just that ONE area is where he's going, he'll probably do it "endoscopically". Which is a breeze. I sure hope that's the procedure of choice for him. If he cuts an incision over 2", you're in for a rough ride, because of the muscle disturbance.
  • I don't think it is endoscopic. He specifically said I would be sore because he had to go around the muscles.

    I can't wait to hear what the second surgeon has to say.

    Thanks for all your info guys.
  • Glad you are getting a second opinion Kris. I got 3. The first 2 said to go in from the front, anterior, to get to the back of the neck, but will probably have to do it again for some reason!? Less of a recovery, but why would I want 2 surgeries? Duh. Anyway 3rd guy went in from the back, 4" cut, to get to 1 area for sure, but he said MRI's arent exact, therefore he was going to look at all the areas, C4-T1, & clean up any in trouble. Like a tiny "roto-rooter". It's all good now, but recovery was quite painful because of the muscle spasms. Im anxious to hear about your procedure. Send me a PM when you find out, because I'm on vacation the next few weeks.
    Take Care
    May 2009 Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy
  • 11/2 I had all this done I still hurt like hell and now my neck pops. Anyone gone through this.
  • I had C5 to T1, and yes it hurts like you've described. The posterior approach is much more difficult to recover from. I had anterior the first time around and my experience was that the actual neck pain from the posterior approach is many times worse.

    However, you are early on in your recovery. You have had a major reconstruction of your neck and it takes a long time to recover. Don't push yourself. The best source of pain relief for me is a TENS unit, so maybe you can get a prescription for one. Low heat helps with the muscle pain, at least it does for me. And with this type of a surgery, it is important that you stay on top of the muscle spasming, so if the doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant, be sure to take it as prescribed. I found that taking it consistently helped more than when I took one here and there. Keep those neck muscles relaxed to help with the healing.

    Are you still wearing a neck brace? I would assume that you are in an aspen or miami J given the type of surgery you had, especially with the two vertebrectomies, if I am interpreting your intro correctly. You mentioned that your neck pops. this is probably just ligaments, but if the area they worked on is popping, you should run it past your doctor. Does it feel unstable?

    I wish you well. Feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
    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 agree with the others that a 2nd opinion is worth getting. I wonder if he is suggesting doing it posteriorly because of the location. That low down is hard to get from the front. Let us know what you decide to do. I'm curious about the exact kind of surgery you are having.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • O yes I wear the brace but just this morning woke up with it off. Scare me !! it did.
    I was on the tens before surgery and would have been a heck of a lot worse w/o it.
    I am taking flexirel but not like I should, just took one. I am soo tight and look like frankenstien when I get a look when I have the pads replaced. It hurts clear down to the mid thorax of my back. Got to go lay down. will check your comments later and thanks
  • I assumed the location was part of the reason for going in from the back. He was 100% certain of what he was saying. No second thought or indecision. He is part of the neurosurgery department at one major hospital on Long Island (NY).

    Tomorrow I have my second opinion with a woman who is the top neurosurgery doctor at the other major hospital here.

    If she agrees then I will schedule for the second week of January. I have an IME mid December so I may have a battle with the insurance company but I think if I have two top surgeons saying operate I should be able to win that one pretty quickly. The evidence is on the MRI.

    In the past two weeks it seems like the pains are getting much worse. Not sure if it real or my imagination or just that I am focusing more now that I know it isn't coming from the muscles.

    I'll let you know what happens tomorrow. Thank you all for your advice and info.
  • Went for my second opinion. I was so certain after the first doctor that she would say to do surgery..and guess what. She said that since I am not crippled by the pain I am not a surgery candidate. She sees the problem but doesn't think I am in enough pain to do surgery.

    I am so frustrated. I asked what I am supposed to do and she said I go back to the neurologist. Well two months with the neurologist and I got no where except more pain.

    She did order new MRI, CT and xrays. So maybe that is a good sign. I tried to explain to her that the no-fault will cut me off soon if I don't have surgery. I understand that there are pluses and minuses to this. If I wait I am avoiding the risks of surgery but it means living with the pain and continuing PT and injections. I am also risking future disability that won't be covered by the no-fault insurance. If I have it I risk complications of surgery but hopefully come away without pain and meds. I also have the coverage of the no-fault insurance which preserves my private health insurance.

    Wednesday I go for the tests. Then I have to make a decision. If they show changes for the worse then I will have the surgery. If they stay the same I will probably wait and take my chances.
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