Hi. I am new and am so thankful to how found this website. I am a 39 year old male who has suffered from aching neck for many years. Recently, it went from aching neck to pain in my shoulders and arms. MRI reveals pretty extensive degeneration. Disc bulging at C3/C4, C5/C5 and C6/C7 causing cord compression at those levels. Abnormal cord signal consistent with myelopathy at C3/C4. C4/C5 is also bad with canal narrowing to 8.5mm but no cord compression. All this is on top of the usual bone spurts, facet joint hypertrophy, narrowing of foramen. My reflexes are off (the usual tests the NS does) but no loss of motor function. Pain is about a 3/10.
The first NS whom I've seen twice is recommending 4-level ACDF C3-C7. Then saw an OSS who recommended only doing 1-level ACDF at C3-C4 to remediate the myelopathy and then adopt a wait and see approach for the other levels. The OSS's rationale was that fusion rates for 4-levels were only 60% with increased risk of dhysphagia and vocal cord impact made it a less attractive choice. I will be getting a third opinion next week.
I have been pretty depressed about my diagnosis (it's been 4 weeks since getting the MRI). Now trying to make the best decision in a very difficult situation. Would appreciate any advice/support.
Does anyone know what 4-level fusion rates are? 60% seems rather low.