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My Journey: This Week Decision Time

AkronviperAAkronviper Posts: 3
edited 11/17/2014 - 10:06 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello everyone, I have enjoyed these forums greatly for the last month or so, so i figure I would post about my journey through this hell we call neck pain lol.

I have been experiencing the normal neck pain, burning delt, tricep and forearm. some rare numbness in the fingers and alot of left arm weakness. So after the usual Family Doctor visits of shots, muscle relaxers, PT....all of which with no success, I had my MRI and saw an Ortho last week who I scheduled to have a C5/C6 Discectomy and Fusion with Dec 4th. My MRI showed a C5/C6 Disc Extrusion and Protrusion, with Moderate Stenosis with Mild Cord Deformity and a slight bulge at C6/C7.

The little Pain in my neck lol http://gyazo.com/9855824550121f892c1da21a95cbc46c

So I decided to see a neurosurgeon at the facility my wife goes too (she has a small tumor in the spinal column) and also another Ortho who has a great reputation but is 40 minutes away :(
This week I will see the Neurosurgeon tomorrow (tues), Great Ortho the next day (weds) and then I guess I should make a choice on who I want to chose cause on Thursday I have pre-admission testing for the already scheduled surgery on the 4th.

This is such a nerve racking experience, its like I'm choosing a stranger who will dictate the rest of my life. Im a 37 yr old male who is in good shape. I run, lift weights and always doing something physical to a guy has to lay down and take it easy to ease the arm pain. Its funny I tell the doctors 8 weeks ago i was bench pressing 300 lbs and today I have trouble getting milk out of the fridge with my left arm.

Im certain all doctors will say surgery which if needed im fine with. Im just worried that I will chose the wrong guy. The doctor im scheduled with seems nice has about 13 yrs experience, the group he is with I know people who have come out of the surgeries worse off, the neurosurgeon is very qualified but only in practice for a year and actually specializes in brain surgery. The last guy is supposed to be one of the best, people say he fixes the other doctors mistakes, but travel seems like a pain.....Ill keep you guys updated on my story as it progresses
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Comments

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,904
    edited 11/17/2014 - 10:06 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • You are absolutely right, selecting the right surgeon is critical. Take your time, try to get a lot of info about each doctor and go with the one whom you trust the most, even if he he not the most conveniently located. There is a Sticky about selecting a surgeon under the topic "Back and Nack surgery". It will give you some good ideas. As an industrial psychologist I learned that the best prediction of future success is past performance. So if you have a chance, talk to people who had the same surgeon you are considering. Also, ask other doctors whom would they recommend, whom would they select as their own surgeon. Good luck!
  • Well the Neurosurgeon threw me for a loop. His gave me a choice of fusion with hardware or what he recommends since my disc is mostly to the side is a Posterior Discectomy with no fusion. I must say this does sound very tempting. Missing some bone in my vertebrae don't sound ideal but the thought of not having a fusion or hardware is very appealing to me . Hmmmm
  • kinpainkkinpain Posts: 958
    edited 11/18/2014 - 12:48 PM
    did he say that the less complex surgery would give you permanent relief, as far as he can predict it, or that it would be a immediate solution and later on you'd need a fusion? To me this would be very important, as a lesser surgery sounds tempting, but if this would be a band-aid solution only that this would be a different matter.
  • Unique200123UUnique200123 Posts: 8
    edited 11/18/2014 - 7:03 PM
    Wow, I am new to the forum and see that I am not alone. I am a 31 year old female and the doctor when I explained my symptoms looked at me and asked if I was in an accident or had some other severe accident as I was too young to have these symptoms. I have and continue to feel alone in this endeavor and hope to have answers soon with my condition. Good luck on your choices and hope things work out well for you.
    Amanda
  • He said that it should be a long time if not permanent fix. Chance of re-herniation is there. He said this normally happens within the first 24 hours and is like a 10% change of re-herniating the disk again. At which time a fusion could be done. Although after some research it sounds like the posterior is very painful due to the muscles being cut. I saw some posts of muscle aphthropy which really scares me. Sure I wont have to worry about the fusion taking hold and well if it don't work there is options. Im really considering it, the "youth" of my doctor does has me worried, but I will say my wife has had many surgeries and she liked the guy and she is a stickler lol

    Well I have my 3rd opinion today in a few hours so we shall see, this guy is probably the best of all 3 so wish me luck
  • kinpainkkinpain Posts: 958
    edited 11/19/2014 - 11:45 AM
    that muscles need to be cut for posterior surgery. My surgeon did two posterior fusions for me (L3-S1; and T12-S1) without cutting any back muscles, in both cases he made an incision through the skin and fat layers and then gently peeled off the muscles from the spine. The incisions were only large enough so he could reach the muscles. As a result, I had no post-operative pain associated with the incisions. I am sure this required more skill, patience and time than cutting right through, but it was a heck of a lot easier on me, and I bless him for it. So perhaps having a younger surgeon is not a bad thing, maybe they learn these techniques to be more humane to their patients. From what I have been reading here, I sure would not let just anybody touch my back. When you interview your doctors, ask them about the methods they use to make it less painful to you. Good luck!
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