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Had 3 level cervical fusion now need thoracic disc removal!?!

feelin blueffeelin blue Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello fellow sufferers! I'm so sorry to see how many people out there are suffering. I now feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself. Here's my dilemma. I had a 3 level disc remove and replace surgery in my neck 8 months ago.(c-4 thru c-7 and artificial disc put in and titanium plates and 8 screws. The dr.had a surprise in the operating room, naturally, when he discovered that instead of the spinal cord being compressed by about 50%, like the tests showed, it was compressed by over 80%! I shouldn't have walked into that hospital, according to him) I woke up from surgery screaming my head off in excruciating pain. (needless to say I didn't make a lot of new friends there) 2 days after surgery they said I was stable and they sent me home.2 days later I was in an ambulance on my way back to the hospital, the pain was again out of control. After 2 more days in the hospital getting the pain under control, they shipped me off to an acute rehab hospital. I hated it. Don't want to run the place down so I'll stop there. After i went home from there, the expected EASY 2 weeks of wearing a neck brace turned into 2 months! I even had to wear it to bed. I was like an upside down turtle. I temporarily lost the use of both arms and was only able to walk (and go to the bathroom) with assistance, which included a nice leash around my waist. Lovely. The anticipated 2 weeks of physical therapy turned into 5 months. The unbearable pain became barely bearable and then barely noticeable over 8 months. I was angry with the doctor for several months. I felt he lied to me. His story is he saved me from a fate worse than death. I was on the fast track to paraplegia and now I'm not.He's right. And I'm not mad at him anymore because I figure if he had told me all those things may have happened, I probably would have skipped out on the surgery. But, here's the catch. My back pain, the original issue that sent me to the dr. in the first place, is back with a vengeance. I went back to the dr. who did my neck and he says he can do surgery to fix my back but it's more risky than the surgery he did on my neck!!!!(he needs to remove the disc at t6/t7 that is impinging on the spinal cord by more than 50%) So risky in fact, that he wants me to see if I can suffer through the pain and wait until I start to lose the use of my legs and then go to him and he'll do the surgery. Sound good to anyone? yeah, that's what I thought. I'm out looking for 2nd opinions, but I'm torn because I really do like the guy and he did save my life and all (lol). I'm just afraid that, for one thing, he'll get in there and find the cord is more compressed than the tests showed, and I'll wake up in terrible pain or maybe worse, no pain at all because I'll be paralyzed. Any comments? Any good neurosurgeons? Thanks, worried


  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    You'll find so much wonderful and informative articles and videos on this site and the member of the forum are all very friendly, knowledgeable and supportive. You'll be amazed how many people have walked or are walking in your shoes. That alone can make spineys feel better because nobody else can truly understand what you're going through.

    I also had a 3-lvl ACDF at C4-7 and my surgeon was surprised that I wasn't having bowel and bladder problems after he looked at my MRI at our first meeting. Needless to say, like you, I was put on the fast track to surgery to stave off paralysis. I'm now battling more problems above my fusion, but that's a whole other story.

    I'm curious as to why you ended up in the hospital so soon after your surgery? What happened?

    Surgeon's many times play down the recovery after spine surgery, mine included. Luckily, my cervical recovery went well, but only is PA told me how difficult the lumbar surgery recovery would be. Thank goodness for him and his honesty.

    I don't think anyone here can tell you whether you should have the recommended surgery, but we all understand getting second, third and even more opinions. Many times they're imperative for peace of mind, even if for no other reason. Getting a second opinion doesn't mean that you can't use your first surgeon, so that's the good part. It's just to see if other surgeons feel and see the same thing. Many will go to a neuro if they're currently using an ortho and vice versa, just to get perspectives from both sides of the coin, so to speak.

    Again, welcome to Spine-Health. I'm glad you found us, although sorry you're going through so much. Take care and keep us posted.

  • Many of us wake up from surgery with a shock as to all that could and did go "wrong". Knowing that I have a surgeon who is willing to stand in the trenches and take the heat from his peers, means the world. When the dust settles, it is always proven that what he did although not the same as what someone else would have done, was what was right for me. I trust my life to this man!

    If you have a doc like that, he won't have any problem with you seeking out a second opinion, in fact he will most likely feel relieved that you do.

    Sorry your experience in the rehab center wasn't any good.

    Welcome to Spine Health.

  • When you get a chance I would love to hear the rest of the story.

    I will find out about the Thoracic fusion today (*I think). I am supposed to see my NS at 4 pm but he could get called out for emergency.

    I would suggest that you take a copy of your records and get a second opinion from either a NS or OS who specializes in the Thoracic Spine. There are a couple guys who are doiing minimaly invasive thoracic discectomy. Maybe that is an option for you?

    Feel Better,

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can.a second opinion is always a good idea. the more information you have the better for you!! any doctor should welcome a second opinion! please make yourself at home and good luck on your upcoming journey! Jenny :)
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