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spine specialist and ortho surgeon said I need emergency surgery as my spinal cord has a color chang

Hi everyone!
I've been reading everything I can as fast as possible on this wonderful site since I got my mri results 12 days ago on 9/10/14. Diagnosed with c2-c7 bulging and herniated discs, left c6 radiculopthy, spinal stenosis with severe cord compression. My world has completely changed and I'm trying to catch up. On 9/16 the spine specialist told me that I need emergency surgery as my spinal cord has a color change. He also did some reflex testing and was very concerned about it and my walking and balance. He sent me to an ortho surgeon on 9/19 who wanted to do surgery the next day. (Yesterday) A level 4 disc fusion and lamnioplasty, 2 rods on either side of the spine. I panicked, said that I wanted to get a second opinion, and I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with a neurosurgeon. Basically, for the past,2 1/2 years I've been treating a torn rotator cuff and now my cervical spine needs surgery and I can't wait to see the NS tomorrow. I'm not listening to family and friends tell me to calm down and stop being so dramatic and get accupuncture because about 4 hours ago my left arm went numb for about 3-4 minutes! And about an hour later my left hand lost feeling.no ,I'm not going to wait for more symptoms of paralysis to set in. I welcome any feedback from you all. Thanks, deezy


  • When there is severe compression of the spinal cord, surgery becomes necessary to relieve the compression as soon as possible. As you are finding out. Damage to the cord can cause permanent injury if left too long. Signs such as you described indicate the sooner, the better the outcome.

  • I really appreciate your reaching out to me. I finally broke down and cried after holding it together for the past week or so . I've been a great sleeper these 48 yrs of and haven't slept in 3 days. I'm vibrating like a tuning fork andam counting down the 24 hrs til my NS appt I've never had surgery before and I'm terrified.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    What were the results/reports/diagnosis from your cervical MRI?

    Shoulder problems can create a lot of arm/hand problems. I have had ACDF surgeries on multi-levels plus I have had both of my shoulders totally replaced with implants. While there are some similarities in symptoms between the two,I've always felt that herniated cervical discs produce a more pronounced impact.

    My cervical problems

    • - Constant and severe headaches
      - Stabbing pain at the base of my neck
      - Shoulder soreness ( in my case because of how the disc herniated, it was my right arm)
      - Weakness in my arm
      - Difficult grabbing / holding on to objects in my hand
      - Numbness in specific fingers (again based on where the disc herniated, it was my 3 outer right fingers)
    Shoulder Problems

    • - Numbness down my entire arm ( no major difference between elbow and hand)
      - Jabbing pain when moving my arm up/down
      - No strength in my hand
      - Difficulty lifting my arm
    That being said, I still would go through a dozen ACDF surgeries before one total shoulder surgery. There is so much more involved with the shoulder. (But a bad mistake on an ACDF could result in paralysis, where as a bad mistake on a shoulder surgery could leave you without the use of one arm)

    Either way, I hope that you are not planning to rush into an ACDF surgery... Not so soon after your lumbar surgery. You need time to recovery from your lumbar surgery, regain your strength, allow your body to get back to its norm
    - Could not sleep on either side, had to sleep in a recliner
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks to you Ron I am in line at the medical records department awaiting a copy of my mri as I'm typing. I was told by the OS on Friday that I needed a 4 level fusion: c4 c5 c6 c7 for the damaged discs
    AND simultaneously a cervical decompression laminaplasty for the cord. Monday I got a second opinion from the NS he wanted to do a discectomy. What does one do when 2diff surgeons have 2diff approach?es
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    then its time to seek a third opinion.

    In cases like this you always want 2 doctors agreeing with the approach.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • After speaking with the NS on the phone today, he put me on his surgical calendar for Friday to hold the room open. He said if I decide to go with the OS then cancel by Thursday. Tomorrow morning I'm going in for pre-op tests and labs, and asking for a third opinion. He read the OS notes from the consult on Friday, it appears that the discrepancy is due to the fact that he mentioned both approaches: lamenctomy & lamnioplasty during the consult. His assistant said he's been in surgery all day today. I'm expecting a call back tomorrow. I need a third opinion.Thanks for suggesting it . who do I ask forth e referral? My spine specialist?. The only thing holding me together right now is this site and I'm having some challenges navigating and posting because I'm on my smart phone and the space is so limited, small, and compressed - like my spine. Any tips would be great. Also what's PM? You can see that I'm not too tecky
  • Sorry to hear about your condition but have a similar story. Had advanced cord compression (bladder and bowel involvement), trouble walking, extreme weakness and numbness. Took 4 mos. to diagnose. Was told I needed surgery ASAP to prevent further degeneration and possible paralysis. Saw 2 NS in a week, chose one and had surgery on 10/3. Had 2 level (C3-5) ACDF with instrumentation. Am a month post-op. The bladder was better immediately. Walking a little better but still profound weakness in my legs. Everything else has remained the same so far. Supposed to start PT anytime now. Still having some trouble swallowing and voice is still hoarse. Hope that will improve in the next few wks. It is better now than it was immediately after surgery. Watched a video of Peyton Manning on the Letterman show talking about his ACDF a few yrs. ago and how hard it was to recover from. Took him a yr. to learn how to throw the football again. I believe he only had problems in one arm. So, I guess it puts into perspective how long the recovery process might be. There is, of course, no absolute promises when it comes to your deficits. The first NS I saw said I'd probably get back about 50% of my losses. I'm determined to prove him wrong. Hope everything goes well for you.
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