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Time for surgery?

JSH5874JJSH5874 Posts: 5
edited 03/02/2013 - 6:18 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi, & help :-(
I'm a 38 yr old teacher & mom of 2 who's been dealing with a c5/6 herniation for two years- no rhyme or reason to the sudden onset of pain then. I've done two sets of 3 epidurals and a year of mckenzie therApy. I was feeling very positive, but recently lost hope & hit the "it's time" phase that all the drs and therapist said would happen. Acdf was recommended by one, and another dr in NYC said he wouldn't operate after looking at my MRI (he chose who to consult based on MRI, & I didn't make the cut- no pun intended). I am seeing a neurologist in two weeks but I want that sign- esp since my two surgeons gave such utterly different advice! Can anyone relate to this and provide any advice? Typing this hurts :(
Thanks. Oops ps- recent MRI showed my c6/7 disc to be worse than the c5/6.


  • I'm a mom of 2 and in my 30's as well. I haveno experience with cervical issues, so can't give you any advice, just thought I'd say hi and I think you are making a good decission to see the neurologist and get another opinion.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • DaffydolphinDaffydolphin Posts: 98
    edited 03/03/2013 - 9:14 AM
    If 6/7 already is looking suspect, odds are you'll be back in fusing it 1 to 2 years after fusing 5/6. Cervical fusing has a tendency to creep outwards until you are eventually fused C2 thru T1. If you can get a good surgeon to agree, I'd delay the fist one as long as possible.
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • Ah- see here we go again- nobody's telling me I HAVE to do this; it's just two years now & the burning pain from neck to hands is really wearing me down:( I've decided to cancel the neuro consult I made & to see another surgeon for opinion 3. Good plan?
  • JSH5874JJSH5874 Posts: 5
    edited 03/04/2013 - 2:21 PM
    Oops all metal I see you liked the neuro consult idea, but I just don't see what he's going to find that hadn't already been checked- all bloodwork was normal, no carpal tunnel. And not neurosurgeon just neurologist. But still getting more opinions.
  • hello jsh, I have disc herniations at c4-5 and c5-6. I also have severe foraminal stenosis at both levels. I have arm weakness and pain. Like you, I have multiple opinions about what to do from different neurosurgeons. Its amazing to me how drs can look at same mri and have completely different treatment options. Personally I am resisting surgery but I know in the end I will have to do It. I hate going through two level acdf. For me I will have surgery when I cant stand it anymore. However I must not wait to long and risk permanent nerve damage. There are no easy answers here. Best of luck...God bless
  • After three or so consults and when they agree on a plan is when I would make my decision.
    Today cervical fusion is a pretty basic surgery with a good experienced surgeon that does only spine work the results can be pretty good unless you wait to long which allows the damage to nerves and or cord will become permanent
    I know and I am paying for it everyday.

    Don't let the fact that you may need more surgery later scare you now because the damage will just keep adding up.
    In 2006 I had C5,6,7 done ACDF. I have pretty good range of motion but my issues are from nerve damage and cord damage from waiting to long. My surgery was over six years ago and the levels above and below are still OK.

    JSH there is nothing wrong with seeing a nuro just to see what they think. If money isn't a problem or insurance I would see has many as possible. MRIs can be read so differant by others that it scares me. The second surgeon I went to looked over the reports and then took me to there computer room and had a large screen and showed me the MRIs and went over it with me and talked about way more then the MRI report did. I went with him and did the surgery because he showed me why he didn't tell me why. Just a thought.

    Good Luck to both of you
  • You may not know for sure when its the right time but you will know for sure when you went past the right time!
  • Yes Rickilalas give good answer here.
  • I've been told by at least 5 different surgeons that you don't do the surgery to stop the pain as there is no guarantee surgery will ever help chronic pain, you do the surgery to prevent further damage. I had a lamenectomy in 2008 c4/c5 due to rapidly increasing weakness in my left arm. I gained part of the strength back but have permanent nerve damage, pain never went away. I will eventually have to have a 3 level fusion c4/5 to c6/7 but currently holding it off by doing nightly traction.
    There are days when I can hardly move my left arm and both hands are numb including thumb, index and middle fingers with pins and needle. Thirty minutes in the traction will give me any where from 8 to 24 hrs of relief though my neck and shoulders are in constant pain and spasm.
    When the traction no longer gives me relief I'll have the surgery.
    I would get the third opinion to balance the other two. Unless there is probability for paralysis it's really your call on when to do the surgery.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • All of you are so awesome- I'm laying here covered in ice to numb the burning pain (familiar? Ha!) & agree with you all!! I'm seeing another surgeon Monday & the neuro Thursday. I'm DEFINITELY ready for this, I cannot take it anymore (whereas I felt differently over the summer- I get what everyone meant when they say "you'll know when it's time").

    The one dr said no & referred me to the neuro, saying my MRI didnt look that bad. thinking about that comment makes me angry now- he paid no attention to the 2 year "journey" that got me to him. My PT wasn't impressed with that response either, & offered the same advice & a few more surgeons.

    Seriously, I'm great with pain. This is kicking my but. I'm getting angry at how it's affecting my family and work. I am so glad to hear from you all, you make me feel better, showing me you get what I'm going through. Thank you!
  • davrunner- traction caused me more pain, I'm afraid.
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