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Considering Multi-level Anterior Discectomy with Fusion

het1972hhet1972 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello All,
I had a discectomy at c5-c6 in June 2007 after a mva in 2006. Prior to surgery, I experienced increased weakness then numbness and burning sensations in UE, eventually reflexes were diminishing and spinal cord was compressed and had difficulty with balance and walking. My 2nd opinion at Penn Neurosurgery said schedule asap! So in 6/2007 the first fusion was done. It was very successful, as I regained my strength and activities with little limitations in movement of my neck.
Now after a mva in 2/2010, just hours afterwards I experienced that familiar slight tingling in my right arm down to hand...I am conservative but eventually after multiple mri's, unsuccessful cortisone injections at c5-c6 and c6-c7 I am scheduled for second series this week, my neurosurgeon at Penn is reccommending fusion at c4-c5, revisit c5-c6 with new hardware and fusion at c6-c7 to alleviate neuropathy, etc...He advised the same in 9/10, my second opinion had reccommended cortison, and now says maybe a disc replacement at c4-c5, revisit c5-c6 and fusion at c6-c7. Second doc says insurance co. will likely not approve disc replacement especially as I have a prior fusion so unsure why he even suggested it other than wanting the case. The Penn doc said patients with fusions do slightly better and again disc replacement with old fusion and new fusion (3 levels affected)is new territory as usually disc replacement is done on patients with just one level affected. My concern is I am only 38 years old, a mom of two who feels weaker than ever but doesn't want to have another surgery that will lead to yet another...and so on...Also, how much mobility will be lost and what are the realistic outcomes and quality of life issues? Any replys would be greatly appreciated as I have cancelled my surgery this week to have more shots and more time to think about my options....
Take care.


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of great informative articles and videos throughout this site and the forums are full of great spiney willing to help and be supportive. There's almost always someone who has walked in your shoes and always someone to help when they can.

    I haven't had a revision surgery, but I have had a 3-lvl ACDF at C4/5,5/6 and 6/7. My ROM once I healed was very good, especially after PT. Mine was successful and my quality of life was greatly improved, as the tingling, pain and weakness in my arms were gone upon waking post-op. I'm very glad I had it done.

    With that said, everyone is different and nobody can predict your outcome, what ROM you'll have and what your quality of life will be post-op. We can only offer our experiences and mine was good.

    One thing that is common opinion here and I personally believe is imperative, is to have complete confidence in your surgeon - I'm talking 100%. To me, that's about 1/3 of the battle, the other 2/3s being the surgery and recovery, of course.

    Good luck on making your decision. With any luck, the injections will help enough to stave off surgery, but if not, I'm wishing you much success on your surgery and post-op recovery if you decide to go that route.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • Het, sorry your experiencing pain and discomfort.
    All surgeries have risks. I wish that I had researched a little more in depth. I wish I'd have found this site before surgery. I was told that I would lose 15 percent of mobility in the turning of my neck. I could have waited and stuck with injections, But for me it was just masking pain. I figured it better to go ahead and have this done while I'm relatively young (45) bounce back and get on with my life. I think that everyone has a different experience in recovery, healing, issues of pain...some people heal faster than others. Anyhoo...not sure i'm of any comfort or support, all
    I know is that I hate that any of us here deal with pain and or need surgery. I had my surgery in Early Nov. On most days...I wish I could just go back to before the surgery. But that's water under the bridge and I am hopeful that as time goes by that I will have improvement. I am hopeful that the weakness and issues I'm having after surgery improve.

    I also think that being confident in your surgeon is very important. Find one that you know is skilled even if that means waiting to get in to see Him or Her. Good for you to think about your options...do your homework.
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