Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

My pain is minimal, but neurosurgeon says I need ACDF... please read

G-specGG-spec Posts: 6
edited 09/02/2013 - 1:06 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
For the past couple weeks, I have been seriously thinking and contemplating getting a 1-level ACDF to my C5-6 due to a 6mm disc herniation causing severe spinal stenosis. My symptoms about a couple months ago were severe shooting pain through my neck and right shoulder blade area, but no numbness or tingling.

Lately, the pain has pretty much completely subsided with recent development of minor weakness in my hands/arms and feet/legs but still no numbness or tingling. The recommendation for surgery comes from 2 different neurosurgeons who stated that my spinal cord is being compressed leaving no space in my spinal canal (according to MRI, midline AP diameter approximately 4mm) at the level of the disc herniation. Although I expressed that my pain was minimal, the doctors said that if I put it off, I will have further problems later and there would also be risk of nerve damage which may not be restored back to 100%.

Is surgery a good enough reason to mitigate "potential risk" of nerve damage even though pain is not an issue? From all my research on neck pain, I am lead to believe that surgery will only create a problem by fixing a problem. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks in advance.


  • G spec
    This is a no brainer for me from my experience.
    Whenever the cord gets involved you need action ASAP so no cord damage is done.
    Do you like to gamble. To me that's a large gamble with a very small payoff for waiting.
    Cord damage can not be repaired.
    You do not have to have pain to be doing damage to your cord.
    I was having several issues all over the body which later we learned was from cord damage that I did not know I had until it was to late

    Good Luck
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 09/04/2013 - 1:58 AM
    hi G-spec,
    I'm have to agree with Rick's opinion here based on personal experience. But I have to honestly admit I am doing the same waiting game right now much to the dismay of family members and surgeon. Actually I am going back in within a few days to follow up with another MRI, X-rays, to develop the next game plan. I know by putting off the inevitable I am rolling the dice. A simple fender bender MVA could have devastating results with an airbag deployment. Sure makes one think.
    Keep us posted on your progress.
  • I'm scheduled for my surgery next week, I'm having c5-7acdf.I have the tingling sensation in my right arm for the last 6 weeks.
    I haven't lost any strength in the arm.
    My pain started in my shoulder blade area and then traveled down to my finger tips within a week. It was excruciating pain for 4 weeks and it has let up somewhat now. My doctor gave me the option of surgery without going through the shots or PT.
    I believe I am making the right choice going the surgery route instead of the short term route.
    c5-7 acdf 9/12/13
  • G-spec
    Whether or not you have pain is not the major concern. Surgery is not done to treat pain, it is done to correct a mechanical or neuropathic problem when it comes to spine surgery. In your case, the herniation is causing concerns with the space in your cervical canal area. There is not a lot of room in the spinal canal in the neck, and therefore anything that causes that space to be narrowed or puts something in contact with the cord has the potential for catastrophic results. You could fall or be in an accident, where what would normally be a very minor issue could wind up making you a tetrapalegic.
    The nerves in the canal do not recover as do nerves in the other areas of your body. Damage to them can quickly become permanent, and once that happens, there is nothing that can be done.
    No one likes the idea of having to have surgery, but in some cases, not having it, and taking your chances is dangerous.
  • with Sandi,

    I think something needs to be done, Did they say why they have to fuse it right away? I wonder if a discectomy/laminectomy would be a sufficient "clean-up"
    I agree that you don't need to have pain to warrant surgery. The surgery is to get rid of and not let symptoms get worse. In your case when you are in pain you probably get more relief when you get up and move your neck around. You are having neurological problems as well. ie. weakness in your arm
    This is why your doc is likely concerned. Pain alone is a BAD reason to have surgery esp. when it comes to the spine. I feel this way because I ask myself "why pain" "what is the cause" On the contrary sometimes when it comes to the spine, they may not be able to find a cause.
    I guess the msg is ask more questions. The herniation yes is clogging up the spinal cord causing the stenosis but is an ACDF the only option?

    good luck and take care,

  • I was also not having much pain other then sharp shooting electrical impulses up my head on occasion. Weakness on right side and I thought due to lack of strengthing exercises. This had been going on for awhile and I had 3 opinions. I had PCDF on C3 to C7 on June 25th this year. So far so good. 11 Weeks tomorrow. The Bruising on the spinal cord will be permanent but the flattening from the stenosis will come back since my cord has room to bounce back. We shall see since after I get weaned off hard collar after 12 weeks I then start physical therapy.
  • I understand your predicament. I was diagnosed with C1/2 subluxation with a distance of 8.5mm, all the med people have told me how lucky I was to still be walking around and having no pain. When they told me that surgery was the only option I constantly reviewed my x-ray and MRI which clearly showed just how 'close' I was to severe problems. It was this that gave me the strength to make the decision to have surgery, 7 weeks post op with a couple of screws stopping the C1 moving any closer to the spinal column I am taking hardly any pain killers although my head movement is severely restricted currently I am assured that it will return with time. Leaving things till the last minute is all well and good as long as you can predict your last minute!!
Sign In or Register to comment.