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Discectomy one level C5-C6 No Fusion. Anyone had this surgery?

I've been searching and searching to try to find info about how successfull having an Anterior Discectomy at one level C5-C6 without any fusion, and not having much luck. Everything that I find is about people who've had fusions. I have Spinal Stenosis at C5-C6,and the beginnings of the C6-C7 disc mildly. The Neurosurgeon I am seeing now says I should have the surgery but thinks just doing the one level is all that is necessary because C6-C7 is not encroaching bad at all, and not to wait to long. I also have Carpal Tunnel in both wrists, which he thinks may actually be an underlying symptom from the neck, calling it Double Crush syndrome. I just started a new job in Feb this year and have been temp. layed off for 2 months now, going back to work in 5 days. I just had carpal tunnel release surgery on right hand 6 weeks ago. I don't know if I will be able to take the time from my new job yet or not, and am curious as to how recovery has gone for other people with same surgery, and how soon they went back to work. My job is pretty physical, I am a janitor and also do event setups moving alot of tables and chairs, equipment etc fairly rigerously daily. The doc says I would be able to go back to work in 10 days. Find that hard to believe but I've never been in that situation before so I don't know. Scared to take the plunge and take the time from work and just in general scared of the surgery.Any input, advice anything would be greatly Appreciated.



  • mskathymmskathy Posts: 26
    edited 07/30/2013 - 1:08 AM

    I have not had the exact same surgery, however I am recovering from Posterior hemilaminectomy c6-c7. My Neruro and Ortho Spine Dr. both told me the surgery would be a breeze, and back to work in 1 or 2 weeks. Prior to surgery I was in severe pain for six months prior from shoulder to neck, and it took them a while to figure out it was my neck. I tried the rounds of epidurals, cortizone shots, meds, therapy...nothing relieved the pain. I was told this had a 95 % chance of working and minimally invasive.

    Well I have a semi/physical job but work very intensely at a computer as well as with other lifting. I only took off work 2 weeks, ended up being off three weeks. Tried to go back and was off another two weeks. Finally I'm back to work, but only part time and I'm still in pain. It's hard for me to do my job part time. So, for me it was not minimally invasive. I was in the hospital 4 days as well. I've been in PT since surgery and I'm getting stronger every week, but it's a much bigger surgery than I was led to believe and I wish I would of prepared with work to take at least 2 months off. From what I've read online here, and my Pain Management Dr has said, the nerves can take up to a year to heal. I still am on pain meds.

    I know you are in pain, and it's a major decision. I would say surgery is surgery. Prepare for a longer time off, and consider yourself lucky if you heal faster. Everyone heals at their own pace.

    Good Luck to you!
  • Thank you so much for responding. Sorry to hear you had a hard time after surgery. Hope things are better for you now. For as sore as my hand was ( and still is) I just have a really hard time having faith in what my Nuero is telling me. He said the same thing about being able to go back to work in 2 -3 weeks after carpal tunnel surgery. There was no way I would have been able to do my job in that amount of time after surgery. Thank goodness I was laid off at the time. Back to work now and 6 weeks since carpal surgery. Hand is finally doing alot better this last week or so. He makes it sound like discectomy surgery will be no big deal and back to life as normal in 2 weeks. I've been doing alot more searching for info on options for surgery and found info on Cervical disc arthroplasty(disc replacement) I'm going to try to find more info about that and I'm hoping to get the chance to go see a Spine Specialist hopefully at Mayo before I go ahead with any surgery. Once you have the surgery it can't be undone and I want to feel comfortable about my decision. Thanks again, and good luck to you with your struggles. :)
  • You are doing the right thing. This surgery is a big
    surgery and going back to physical work as you stated
    could cause healing issues in my own opinion. I would
    get several opinions.

    Good luck to you.
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 08/02/2013 - 5:51 PM
    Yeah, I love how some say "Oh, it'll be a week or two, and you'll be fine, right back to work." Sure!!!!

    That ADR surgery is a big one just like fusion.

    If you have a discectomy, it then would be dependant on the approach the surgeon uses. They can go in there and tear it open causing a lot of collateral damage. Or they can use microscopic flexible telescopic instrumentation that threads into the foramins of the vertebrates thereby reducing the collateral damage and recovery time. (in theory)

    You must ask your surgeons what method they will employ. If you have the luxury, you could shop around for the surgeon that offers the least invasive technique while offering the most benefit under that circumstance.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Hi

    I just wanted to add I'm 10 weeks post op and feeling much better! Last week I finally was put on Neurontin. I was working with a pain management specialist because my Neurosurgeon wouldn't prescribe any pain meds at all "you shouldn't be in pain after surgery" Really??? That's a another topic for discussion!

    Anyway, I had never taken any nerve meds for pain...I never heard of them. I've been on muscle relaxers and Hydrocodone which only took the edge off. Finally after 8 months I took this new med and in 2 days I was a new woman. So I just wanted to pass that on in case you didn't know about nerve meds for pain.

    Good Luck to you!
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