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Does surgery ever work?

I had a mtn bike crash in July. Fractured Lamina C4 and spinous process C5. Those have healed, but 1 month ago I started getting bolts of zinging down into my hands when I bend my neck forward, and buzzing in my hands at other times. Surgeon says I have spondylitic stenosis and a spur or disc is pressing on my cord when I look down. He's not in a hurry to operate and says it might go away. Otherwise, he recommends a laminoplasty.

I see many comments all over the internet by people who still have pain and more problems after surgery. This does not seem like an optimal solution. I looked into the laser spine institute and found a lot of posts on the net about that not being worthy either.

I don't expect there will be many forum members lurking around that have healed this kind of issue naturally, but, please post if so. I'm having a hard time giving up my active life and unaffected use of my hands playing piano and guitar....let alone getting back on my bike.

Some say it will take me a year to recover....if I could be confident it *would* take a year (or 2), life would be easier to handle. As it is now, I not only had a physical trauma, but psychological one too.


  • I have had several surgeries and still have pain. In my case I know that I needed the surgeries and they did help
    In my thoughts the surgeries stopped the progression of the issues but didn't stop all of the pain. My spine and yours are totally differant so it is hard if not impossible to compare. One thing I am sure of is that I waited too long for my first cervical surgery and now I am stuck with a spinal cord injury that will be a problem the rest of my life.
    If I was in your place I would see at least another spine doctor or three and see what they feel.
    I would also ask what will happen if I wait until things are worse off.
    You can enlarge my profile picture and see where a disc was severely compressing my cord. I have cord damage there now for waiting to long. Its scary to go through and you have to find a doctor you trust as they can make mistakes also. We have to have faith in them.
    My first cervical surgery was fusion of C5-6-7 and I was recovered in less then six months. Be careful on this, if your cord is already having pressure applied to it something should be done in my opinion.
    Resurch, read and find some docs that do nothing but spines.

    Good luck and ask anything you need
  • I have, met two people that had lumbar fusion and have no pain. One rides a dirt bike and is hard at it the other had the less invasive surgeries and went back to work in less then five months. Last thought I have not seen real good luck with the lazer treatments for a serious issue as of yet

    Good Luck
  • I have had two fusions. I am pain free and no longer take pain meds. I had terrible sciatica in my left leg. Before my surgery the sciatica had become so bad I could not bare weight of that leg.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I have gained a lot of insight into spinal problems / treatments / surgeries / recoveries / lifestyles over the past 30 + years.
    Yes, there are Failed surgeries. Those problems are too detailed and varied to identify WHY that happened, but overall I believe that once surgery has been identified as the only action plan, then surgery is the way to go and it can be successful.

    I say can, because in the scheme of everything, the surgeon has the easiest of jobs. Spinal surgery, specifically lumbar has come a long way since the '70s. Its almost come to be routine for my surgeons. The person who has the hardest job is the patient! Once they are out of the hospital, its up to them to do everything that was told to them and everything they can to ensure that the surgery is successful, and stays that way!

    I've had a couple of lumbar surgeries that were 100% successful. I did have to have 2 additional lumbar surgeries (along with the other) because of ME I failed, I did not follow the restrictions, limitations and guidelines set up by my doctor. In fact in so many ways, it was because, I did too much, I didnt take care of my health, I forgot I had spinal issues that caused additional surgeries.

    So, as patients, we play a major role in making spinal surgery a success.
    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 input everyone. My surgeon says that there's the possibility of a spur or disc compressing the cord when I bend my neck forward. When it's straight, things are generally ok. There's also one other possibility that I suffered a cord contusion in my crash, which takes time to heal. I'm waiting for them to schedule another MRI and this one is supposed to be a dynamic flexion type whereby they shoot it when my neck is bent, however, I'm not sure I will be able to do that since it's so electric and buzzing in that position.
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