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My symptoms aren't that bad, but surgeon advising fusion

guitarjimgguitarjim Posts: 3
edited 08/10/2014 - 4:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am a 50 year old male. About 18 months ago, I started experiencing some mild numbness in my left hand. Additionally, I found that when I hit a bump on my motorcycle or when someone gave me a strong hug, I would have shooting numbness (kind of like an electrical charge) down both arms for 30 seconds or so. Then the numbness started to show up in my right hand periodically.

The symptoms weren't (and still aren't) severe at all and I probably wouldn't have pursued the matter, except that I'm a guitar player so I am terrified of losing dexterity in my hands. After going through a number of misdiagnosis-caused treatments, I got an MRI that shows "severe cervical stenosis". I posted a pic of the scan here (I couldn't figure out how to insert images into the post):


I met with an orthopedic spine surgeon who is recommending fusion surgery. I am balking at it, because my symptoms are annoying but not debilitating. His response was that he is amazed my symptoms are not more severe given my scan and that he believes that when they do start to get worse, they will degrade quickly, possibly leaving me with permanent damage. He said that as a musician, I should get the surgery done as quickly as possible to prevent any long term deficiencies.

He also stated that the condition puts me at a much elevated risk of paralysis should I have a slip-and-fall incident, minor traffic accident or some other type of trauma.

This is all very frightening and I find myself weighing the risks of permanent impairment by not treating the issue, with the risk of a negative surgery result causing other issues. How does one possibly make this decision. Clearly, if I had severe pain, immobility, or impairment, the decision would be easy. But with only mild symptoms at the moment, neck fusion seems to be a huge step. People are telling me that more severe symptoms are on the horizon and inevitable, but it's hard to accept.

Thanks for any thoughts you have regarding how you would look at the situation.


Duplicate post please follow link
Post edited by Liz spine-health moderator


it is against forum rules to duplicate posts..the reason for this is having multiple threads on the same subject can reduce the number of responses, plus it creates confusion for the rest of the member community. Members do not know which thread to respond to. Then in the end you may have a number of different responses in different threads. Any thread continuity is then lost.
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