To Fuse or Not To Fuse...That is the Question!
I'd like to get some feedback from folks about a decision I'm facing concerning surgery to fuse a broken vertebra. Short background: I have a 10 year history of severe osteoporosis which has caused fractures of my vertebra from T2 thru S1 with fusions at the same levels. About 2 months ago I experienced a new fracture at T1 which has left me with pain, some numbness and tingling going down my right arm, especially on the inside aspect of my forearm. The CT scan shows the fracture that has a "wedged" appearance and looks like it may be close to the spinal cord. My surgeon is sending me for an MRI of my back/neck today. He says that if the fracture looks like it is impinging on the spinal cord he would recommend surgery sooner rather than later. If it looks like the fractured bone is only compressing the nerve(s) he would advise waiting 4-6 weeks to see if the pain goes away and if it does he would leave things alone. If the pain doesn't resolve in 4-6 weeks he would recommend a fusion that would include levels T1 thru C4.
First...I certainly am extremely nervous about just waiting around to see if this fracture moves toward my cord. In addition, with my history of breaking bones that are above and/or below a current fusion what are the chances that leaving the fracture alone will only encourage my cervical vertebra to break in a domino effect?
If you were in my position, what would you be concerned about and what would you do? I really appreciate and and all suggestions and responses. Thanks!!