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how much does age impact on spinal chord recovery?

my surgeon has (on more than one occasion) told me that my at my age the spinal chord is reluctant to recover from being decompressed. i am only in my mid fifties though, not exactly geriatric!
i wonder if this has been told to anyone else?

at what age does the spinal chord stop bouncing back?

pre op the chord was devoid of spinal fluid or outer coating, dont know what its called, sorry (clearly visable on mri) and i am sure it had been that way for some time, wouldnt that be more significant than my age to recovery?

i have myleopathy? as a diagnosis, is this likely to get better? stay the same? or get worse? i know the op was to stop it getting worse, but is that short medium or long term.

i think i am getting to grips with this and just realise more and more how little i know and perhaps knowing might be a good thing!

c5/6/7 op on 17th May 2012 two cages, top plate and 6 screws, xray looked amazing!


  • I haven't been told that about age slowing the recovery from cord compression. It is a bit of a worry if it is true as, like you, I am also in my mid fifties.
    My spinal cord has been compressed for at least 21 months, without any spinal fluid around it. I have been told and shown that the cord is being pushed back and indented. No-one has said anything about my age being a problem with the recovery.

    However, I was told that the surgery is done to stop the progression of the myelopathy symptoms rather than relieve the symptoms. I was also told, however, that 70% of patients will get some relief of their symptoms, although how much relief and over what time scale is impossible to predict. I have also been told that having the ACDF will remove the danger of paralysis if I was to fall or be in an accident.

    I hope that your recovery will continue and that you will get lots of relief of your symptoms.
    Take care

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    can apply to any recovery after surgery. Its not just spinal , spinal cord related. As we age, recovery from anything is harder to do. Face it, someone at 25 having spinal surgery is going to recovery faster than someone 55.

    The only thing I have been told regarding Spinal and Joint surgery is that we need to work harder in the recovery stage and that rehab will be harder.

    I would question your doctor as to exactly whay they are talking about.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • thanks for the feedback i really appreciate it!

    Ron i have worked hard all my life and survived worse than this, in fact i am pretty sure i got the neck injuries by holding concrete posts for a 6 foot fence over the holes at an angle (me not the posts! lol)! i prefer outside to in and love to do manual work. i have always felt equal in strength to my hubby (until my neck problems!) and we love to work as a team, fence erecting, roof repairs etc. might explain my technophobia though!! hate being still for long. i am pushing my gp for hydrotherapy at the moment as the surgeon said that would be the best thing to help my walking at the moment, my gp has to wait for the letter from the surgeon though! but believe me if hard work can fix me.... i will soon be fixed! ;-)
  • i'm sorry to say that myleopathy does not go away. i never heard that before about age,but i was only 42 when i had my surgery on my neck. my cord was flattened and i also had myleopathy .i thought that mine was getting better for a while but it came back again the more i did. recovery is a constant battle with many twists and turns for me so far. i hope that all goes well for you.
  • How long ago was your surgery? and what levels did you have done?
    I am also interested to know what your symptoms were before surgery.
    I hope that your recovery will move onto a straight and smooth road very soon.

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