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Question for those who had neck surgery

sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know every person and situation is different and there are no guarantees. I'd just like to know how many of you that had some kind of neck surgery would do it again. Did it help, did it make it worse? To me surgery is a last resort but I think I've used up all the other 'resorts'. It's just sooooooo aggravating. Thanks fellow neckies for all your help and advice. I hope you're all having a good day.




  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    I have had to date 4 surgeries to my neck. It was not a matter of choice but one of necessity. When all other "conserative" treatments had failed, and the pain becomes unbarable and untreatable. Then surgery becomes the only option. All in all my status is better than before the first ACDF and better than before the next ACDF - vertebrectomy - cage - posterior rods - etc. I still have ongoing progressive problems but it is about progress not perfection.

    Hoping for reduction of your problem via meds - PT - surgery - prayer.

    Take care,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Well I am one of the unlucky ones that one surgery lead to more surgery. While my road has been long would I do it again? you betcha, I can walk still. Is it a perfect road, No not for me. But the good news is I have been around here a long time and seen many come and go and out living the busy everyday life. While I have 5 neck surgeries behind me I would hate to think were I would be today without them. I can pretty much say I would more than likely be much worse off than I am now. Even with needing more surgery in the very near future, still doesn't change my beliefs on that either. Like I say it isn't perfect world but it is my world and I am happy I can still walk down the street and not roll down it. I will say my attitude towards all of this didn't come over night it was a process of acceptance. In a perfect world the one surgery would have fixed everything I would have went back to work and been on my way like so many, but that didn't happen.

    Surgery is such a personal choice and you have to weigh the benefits, risk, surgeon, recovery all the parts of the equation. I am neither pro or con on surgery I think each case has to be weighted by it's specific merits. The most important piece of information I can give anyone considering surgery. Understand the procedure they are doing be sure the list of questions we have here you can answer them with your eyes closed and then have faith and confidence in your surgeon. Keep in mind the surgeon can only carry you so far, then it is on the patient. Keep us posted on your decision and as always which ever way you decide we will be here to support your decision. Take care.
  • I'm sorry that your conservative measures have been exhausted and that you're now considering whether or not to have surgery.

    I had a 3-lvl ACDF (C4-7) in Oct. 08 and like tam, I don't know if I'd be able to function on any sort of normal level if I had not had that surgery. My problems were so bad that conservative measures weren't even a choice in the eyes of my surgeon. I had multiple opinions that backed up his opinion and so I had the surgery without doubting my choice.

    At the time, I was so new to spine problems that I probably didn't ask all the right questions, remember all the things my surgeon said, and didn't understand most of what was happening to me. But what I DID understand was that I couldn't pick up a glass of water with my left hand, I had severe pain, my right arm was tingling 24/7 with numbness, and I was terrified about all of this. As ignorant as I was, I knew that it would only get worse and my surgeon was my knight in shining armor.

    I woke up from surgery with no arm symptoms at all. Everything was back to normal - although I don't remember, when I was wheeled into my room, my hubby said I was clapping my hands together, giggling and saying I could feel my hands and my arms felt normal.

    To me, that's what surgery is about: Can you live with what's happening to you? How advanced are your symptoms? What will happen if you let it go? Do you have complete trust in your surgeon? Are you confident that you have enough opinions that you're making the right choice?

    Surgery is a very personal decision, but for many of us it really wasn't a decision at all. It was only a matter of stabilization and making sure we would be able to use our arms and even walk in the future.

    My C6/7 still has movement because it never fully fused (the others are strong and stable), and I may eventually need a posterior surgery to stabilize it. But, until I have significant symptoms in my arms that tell me it's time, I'll wait. I may never need revision surgery, and that's what I'm hoping for.

    So, all in all, yes, it was worth it and I would do it again under the same circumstances. I can also say that even a 3-level fusion isn't as horrible as it sounds. Yes, there's recovery time and the fear of the surgery itself, and the fact that you may never stop thinking about your neck (I haven't since my surgery), but sometimes the alternatives are worse. That has to be considered.

    I hope that you and your surgeon make the right choice for you and that whatever decision you make, you know in your heart and gut that it's the right one. We'll here for you in any case.

    As always, PM me if you want to talk some more.
    Your friend, Cath
  • Tamtam pretty well hit it! I will know on the 13th if more neck, and now added (for when?) lumbar is now in play...still testing to find out.

    My first cervical surgery to me was a 100% success. My adjacent level went just past a year - and when the disk hit the right exit nerve, it damaged it pretty bad. The surgery though there are still lots of issues going on with my neck, did succeed in ridding me of a lot of the pain, Lyrica took care of the majority of what was left. Would I do that one again, or the first one? Yes, no question for me. What they are "thinking" they may have to do with the issues now, I am still chewing over. :-( I will think all the options both good and bad to prepare for the 13th - will bring the hubby. I do that when the possibility of surgery is on the "daily special."

    Lumbar, jury is still out there. My spine is going south in all the areas I hurt crashing a helicopter. While my surgeon states it isn't a direct result (my neck and back), it probably predisposed the failings as the disks probably took a megga hit - but I was 24 back then, and still young and springy! So far on my surgeries, I didn't have a whole lot of choice as (like Tamtam), much worse results would be there if I didn't. The C5/6 was on the cord, the C6/7 mainly on the right exit root.

    Each case just like each person is different. It is (as also stated) a very personal decision. Some would rather deal with the pain management *if* they are fairly well assured that no permanent damage would result. Some do it to try and get relief, some to prevent being partial or fully paralyzed. Too many possibilities to even ponder actually. I think that is another wonderful benefit of this site...we can bounce ideas, thoughts, feelings and too yep, vent and it is okay as we all understand waaaayyy more than a "normal" would.

    Take care!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I can only speak for myself, in that I am fused from C3 through C7. I'm not sure whether or not I would do it again. I only wish I could go back and start over with another doctor. There is a long and very boring story that goes with that, but I think having a doctor you could trust would make a huge difference. I have pain about 24/7 and have learned that since I really have no doctor I just have to sublimate the pain most of the time. You can learn a lot about the differences in procedures, in recovery time and issues...and just a good situation in sharing with people who actually have been there/done that.

    Jane in Tennessee
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I am fused C5-C7 and then had a posterior foraminotomy for stenosis. I would do both again in a minute. The amount of pain relief was amazing. Much of the searing nerve pain down my arm was gone upon waking from the ACDF. I still had a lot of healing to do but when they go in and relieve nerve impingement you can have very good results. I should have pushed to have C4 included so I'm now going to see if a revision is an option to get C4 included. I am on LTD and don't have a job to go back to, so if the C4 needs to be done I want to get that done soon.

    I actually didn't see surgery as a last resort...I saw it as the best option to relieve the pain. Once I knew how bad the disc damage was I knew no amount of conservative care would alleviate the pain. I could have gone on with ESI and other treatments but for me the nerve pain and numbness/tingling was unbearable.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • My C5/6 fusion was a success and I would definitely do it again. Most days I forget it was even done.

    Best wishes,

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I appreciate you all sharing your experiences with me. I don't know why I go back and forth in my mind as to whether or not to have surgery. The day I had my last esi the doctor said if this didn't work I'd have to go back to the NS. I see the PM doctor again on May 7 so maybe I'll have more info then. The esi hasn't worked and it's been two weeks. This sucks. That's all there is to it. But it could be worse.
    Take care all and have a great weekend. Thanks again.

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