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Ruptured C6/C7 disc pressing on spinal cord Surgery or No Surgery?

mdanielsmmdaniels Posts: 1
edited 07/16/2014 - 9:16 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm a 33 year old male and had lower and upper back problems that have been getting worse over the last 3 years. My last MRI showed that my C6/C7 disc was herniated and is pressing on my spinal cord. My orthopedic doctor referred me to his neurosurgeon who said that surgery would probably help with my symptoms. I then went to get a second opinion and that doctor said it wasn't bad enough for surgery. The issue is the second opinion came from EDITED who only read over my radiology report I never actually met anyone. I don't even think they looked at the film. I never got a chance to discuss my symptoms, pain, how long I've had problems, etc.

Symptoms: Can't touch my chin to my chest, hurts to turn my neck right/left,radiating pain down the back of my arms, tingling in my fingers, numbness. Some mornings I'll wake up and literally feel paralyzed for an hour or so where I can't move at all because it hurts so badly. As I mentioned before it has gotten progressively worse over the last few years. I first starting having problems back in 2007 where I'd have a few flare ups during the year, but as I got older the symptoms and flare ups became more frequent. Since 2012 I've had 3 MRIs, and you can clearly see the change in the MRI images (i.e. the herniation is far worse than it was 3 years ago). Some days or weeks will be better than others which based on my research seems normal especially since everyone presents differently.

I've been to physical therapy which has not helped, typical med regimen (anti inflammatoires, muscle relaxers, medrol dose paks, etc.)

Now with the two conflicting doctor reports I'm really confused as to what I'd should do...surgery or no surgery? I'm learning towards surgery considering I've not gotten any better given all the various treatments.

Has anyone experienced anything similar? Would you recommend the surgery? Can the herniation and/or damage get become worse if I wait and don't get surgery?


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  • I would be concerned that the herniation is pressing on the spinal cord. Did the surgeon explain the potential risks if you wait? If you're not sure what to do then get at least one more opinion if not two.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • I am scheduled for surgery for the same complaint in September of this year. My problems started roughly one year ago, numbness in legs, loss of balance , difficulty walking and hyper sensitivity in both feet. The MR I'M showed the discs pressing into the spinal cord at c-6,7. A vertobrectomy is the course of treatment . Both neurosurgeon and neurologist agree this will relieve the pressure on the spinal cord. Scared? You bet! But if left all agree I'm 6 onths from a wheel chair.

    I'm in a fair amount of "discomfort", ( that phrase should be taken as a pain level 8-9 ) , and although nobody wants surgery, I'm hoping for the best. The doctors all agree that to avoid as much permanent damage as possible it's better done sooner than later.
    Hope this was helpful.
  • To mdaniel; I had the same problem like you; and I went to 2 neurosurgeons and both of them said that I do not need surgery and 3 othorpedic surgeons said that I need surgery, thanks to god that I met a person that recently had surgery with one of the othorpedic that told me that I needed the surgery, and I went for it and almost 2 years from the surgery i am so happy that all my bad symptoms disappeared. I suggest to you find a good surgeon and do that surgery if you live in New York I can recommend you my surgeon.
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