I'm a 47 year old woman who has been fused from C-7 to C-6on 10/2/2003 and then C-6 to C-4 on 12/2/2003. I was back on 12/28/2005 to have C-7 to C-6 Refused and had my back vertebra fused and wired.
I have been having problems that are now chronic pain in my neck. I know that C-4 to C3 is destabilized. I have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). However I have been dealing with pain that radiates down my arms and I deal with some numbness in my arms and hands. I had a Myelogram done on 1/6/12 where they injected the die in my low back to check for adequate fusion of C-6 to C-5. This was done to determine if there is a problem at C-6 to C-5 (C6 to C-4 are fused with cadaver bone.)
So my first question is: With the destabilization of the C-7to C-6 and the possible destabilization of C-6 to C-5, should I encourage refusing of C-5 to C-4 while they are in there? It is my desire to prevent further surgeries on my neck, I feel 4 is enough!
On 12/25/2011 I began dealing with chronic pain in my Lumbar back area. On 1/4/12 I had an MRI on my low back and now know that L-5 to L-4 is ruptured and L-4 to L-3 and L-3 to L-2 are both bulging.
I have an older Friend 20 + years my senior who had a similar problem and had a lumbar laminectomy (Open Decompression) done where they removed only part of the disc that was putting pressure on the nerve with no fusion. He has a constant back ache and numbness in one of his legs.
So my second question is this: At my age and with the DDD should I go for a lumbar laminectomy
(Open Decompression) or should I have L-5 to L-4 Fused? And If I have L-5 to L-4 fused with my DDD should I push for fusion of L-4 to L-2 fussed at the same time?
My next question is in regards to harvesting bone from my hip. When I had the vertebra in my neck wired a new orthopedic surgeon did the bone harvesting and he used a method where made an insertion down between my butt cheeks (I did have problems with infection with this incision) and harvested bone from the back of my hip. He also made a bone slurry with cadaver bone to cover the harvest sight. I have had no pain from that harvest of my own bone (other than the infection) and I have been told by many people who have had bone harvested that there harvest sight caused more pain than the neck fusion.
I have a new neural surgeon this go around who is an older man. He has indicated to me that he is not inclined to change the way he has harvested bone over the years, putting the incision on the side of the body and removing bone from the hip there.
So my third question is: Is there a know benefit of harvesting the bone from the back of the hip and does the bone slurry have a proven medical/pain benefit?