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To wait...or not to wait...that is the question

Hello - I have significant cervical stenosis (according to an MRI) at c5-6, c6-7, but thanks to physical therapy and rehab, I have been able to hold off on surgery for about 2 years.

My symptoms (weakness in the arms, wobbly legs, loss of balance, foggy head syndrome) are getting worse, so I am again contemplating surgery, but had a question for the forum.

The primary reason that I held off having surgery in the beginning was because I am only 40 years old, and didn't want to do a two level spinal fusion. I preferred to go through the challenges of physical therapy, rather than take the risk that fusion might cause 10-20 years down the road.

However, I found a couple of new technologies (disc replacement) that now have FDA approval. I know of a doctor in my area who specializes in Mobi-C disc replacement, and I trust him, but I'm concerned that I might be jumping into this too early. Is the technology developed, or does it need more time? I see that the Mobi-C is the first 2nd generation device, but I'm not sure what this means? I can't find information on what "2nd generation" really means? And what will 3rd generation devices bring? Is it worth waiting, if I can?

Of course, I would wait as long as my symptoms would allow - but like I said, they are getting worse. If I can be confident that the Mobi-C (or other disc replacement technology) is the best possible option for years to come, then I think I may go for the surgery.

Any thoughts?

Thanks you!

Dizzy
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Comments

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,892
    edited 04/01/2014 - 3:34 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dizzyguy said:
    Hello - I have significant cervical stenosis (according to an MRI) at c5-6, c6-7, but thanks to physical therapy and rehab, I have been able to hold off on surgery for about 2 years.

    My symptoms (weakness in the arms, wobbly legs, loss of balance, foggy head syndrome) are getting worse, so I am again contemplating surgery, but had a question for the forum.

    The primary reason that I held off having surgery in the beginning was because I am only 40 years old, and didn't want to do a two level spinal fusion. I preferred to go through the challenges of physical therapy, rather than take the risk that fusion might cause 10-20 years down the road.

    However, I found a couple of new technologies (disc replacement) that now have FDA approval. I know of a doctor in my area who specializes in Mobi-C disc replacement, and I trust him, but I'm concerned that I might be jumping into this too early. Is the technology developed, or does it need more time? I see that the Mobi-C is the first 2nd generation device, but I'm not sure what this means? I can't find information on what "2nd generation" really means? And what will 3rd generation devices bring? Is it worth waiting, if I can?

    Of course, I would wait as long as my symptoms would allow - but like I said, they are getting worse. If I can be confident that the Mobi-C (or other disc replacement technology) is the best possible option for years to come, then I think I may go for the surgery.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks you!

    Dizzy
    Dizzy,

    Don't Wait! I am 42 and had a C5-C7 fusion. I had the plates because the insurance wouldn't do more "forward looking" procedures. I waited a while and I am hoping my left arm fully recovers. I felt great immediately after, but my body is still adjusting some. The fusion itself doesn't bother me.

    I waited too long on my lower back and now I have permanent damage in my legs and I was pretty active.
    Murraytscan@yahoo.com
    L4-L5 fused at birth (congenital malformity). L-5-S1 bulge/degeneration, L3-L4 bulge/degeneration. Permanent nerve damage L5-S1 and L3-L4. Fused C5-C7.
  • Thank you @murraymr, I appreciate your input.

    I would really like to know if anyone else has any experience in particular with disc replacement - the Mobi-C technology in particular?
  • I am not familiar with the disk replacement that you are referring too. I just wanted to chime in my thoughts though ... Please, do not wait to do the surgery. I am suffering because I waited to figure out what was going on with me. I have had the two level fusion C3 to C4 to C5. However, due to the damage done prior to the surgery, I will never fully recover. I still have tingling sensations in all 4 extremities, my walk has improved some (at least I am not using a cane) but I still look like I am drunk. In all the reading that I have done, I see only benefits to having the surgery versus waiting.

    I wish you the best of luck in this journey.
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