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Surgery, 3rd opinion, revisited

Newton35NNewton35 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone,
I wrote a post a little while back on my "predicament" over surgical treatment.
The background to all this being that I was in a boating accident some years ago. I suffered life-threatening injuries, including significant back injuries. I had lumbar fusion surgery (plates, screws, rods). It took me a year to learn how to walk again. Since I've had almost one annual surgery relating to my back. Bone quality is not what it should be and although the lumbar region is in pretty good shape (comparatively), the rest of my back has been deteriorating. I've had minimally invasive surgery to ease the pressure of herniated discs. All succesful.

Now, I'm losing sensation in my arms and legs. It's been a slow progression but I need cervical surgery. Here is where two doctors disagreed. One suggested ACDF, possibly 4 to 5 level. Another suggested a more comprehensive and ultimately more complicated surgery involving fusing most of the neck.
I went for a 3rd opinion. This surgeon suggests about the same as the 2nd doctor but even more complicated. He suggests a modified chiari malformation surgery along with fusion. This would, most likely, stop progression of paralysis and, hopefully, stop the need for tinkering with yearly surgeries.

After much discussion, and a visit to a colleague of the surgeon to get a full view of the options, we've (me and my husband) decided to go with the complicated surgery. It's riskier than the others but by now I am growing weary of the annual surgery due to complications stuff. To me, ACDF would seem like a patch-up-and-see-where-we-end-up kind of thing but I could be wrong.

He also suggested a spinal cord stimulator which, apparently, need not be implanted with surgery but can wait until the healing process shows if the need persists. I've been taking some kick-ass pain killers over the years, if a SCS could help me get off them, it would certainly be quite helpful.

I'm equally calm as I am terrified. Hearing the doctor go through all the risks is not really what you need to hear. It was all from full paralysis to death.
We've decided to move along quickly. Just over the last week(s) I've lost sensation up to my knees and I'm back in my much maligned wheel-chair.

Anyway, we've decided on this course of action but any thoughts, or encouragement would be highly welcome!

All my best to everyone!



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ...a lot going on. You probably feel a huge relief just in having made the decision.

    Losing the sensation in your legs...wow..and not knowing what to expect next...I'm so glad you have a peace..calmness about your decision. Sounds like you have a good support system with your husband. Priceless!

    Totally easier said than done I know, but please try not to worry too much as you'll need your strength to heal.

    I wish you all the best and I do hope you let us know how you are doing!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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