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Herniated C5-6 and newly pregnant

Susie2153Susie2153 Posts: 2
edited 05/25/2015 - 7:43 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone,
In mid April 2015 I herniated C5-6. My neurosurgeon immediately suggested acdf due to the amount of muscle loss and strength loss in my left arm in such a short amount of time as well as the numbness in my thumb and pointer finger. This past Thursday, May 21st, I was back being prepped to be taken to the operating room. IV In and everything when the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurse all call to tell me that they had to cancel the surgery because it came back that I was pregnant! Shock, disbelief, anger, happiness, more shock, all hit me and my family. I was very much looking forward to this surgery!!

Now, in the last month I've taken,, Valium, Ibuprofen 800, Vicodin, flexeril, Valtaran, Toridol injection, toroidal pills, had 1 epidural steroid injection, a Medrol Pak, Soma and Percocet.

My question is has anyone experienced a herniated cervical disc and been pregnant? Has anyone had acdf surgery while pregnant? My OB/GYN said if I needed the surgery the best time is during the second trimester. As of right now the steroid injection has significantly decreased my pain but I don't know if I'll be able to have any more. Can anyone shed any light on my situation? I see a high risk OB doc on June 3rd in hopes that they can tell me what kind of meds I can hopefully take or if proceeding with surgery is possible.
I'm looking for anyone else's experiences with something like this.

Thank you so much!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Wow, how bitter sweet. Wish I could give you advice but I didn't even know you could have surgery and anesthesia like that when pregnant. If the injections are helping maybe that could buy you time, but if you are having atrophy already it sounds like the surgery is pretty necessary immediately.
    I hope you find the answers you need. Good luck!
  • I have experience with having an unstable C5/6 which I did do surgery on after trying to rehab it for 2 years. It wasn't as easy as my doctor had explained- it had gone to my feet and the operation didn't take away my pain. I am trying to conceive and personally again, medications scare me. You really should go through the meds you are on with a high risk OBGYN. Unless the neck is severely unstable, personally I would worry about having any operation. Definitely get more than one opinions as well . I can't tell you this journey will be easy, but its so important you are informed.
  • The literature is pretty clear on the success rates of neck surgery per given condition. I am not exactly sure what is meant by unstable neck but if a person does not have a herniation and does not have broken disc material landing on or pinching into spinal nerves then they do not have the same condition. People with a herniation that is caused by a recent injury or an act of over-exertion have high success rates with an ACDF surgery.

    The dilemma that Susie faces has a labyrinth of philosophical choices. It is a situation that few people in this world will be faced with and one that defines us as human beings. The only advice I can offer is to trust in yourself and accept the decisions that you make as you go forward in life.

    Best Wishes,

  • Hi everyone, here is my update.....

    It took me months to find a surgeon to even speak to me let alone find one that would do the surgery. I too had numbness, weakness and muscle atrophy in my left arm. I was also told the longer I left the nerve pinched the more permanent it would be. I met with a doc on 8/25/15. He said if I was sure I wanted the procedure done during pregnancy that he would do it. Of course, I was putting my unborn child at risk. I opted for surgery a week later. I was 22 weeks pregnant. I was seen in pre-op by an OB anesthesiologist, the head of the OB dept at the hospital and my surgeon. They all informed me of the risks that if something should happen to my daughter (we just found out a week before) that there wouldn't be anything they could do and she wouldn't survive. I had more people in my OR then I ever imagined. Good news is Abby is just fine and a plump 6 month old now. The surgery went perfect. The next day I was able to raise my arm over my shoulder without any pain. I was able to move my arm in ways the pinched nerve wouldn't let me before. I was given 1 Tylenol after the surgery and that is ALL I took. It wasn't painful at all. I struggled with swallowing and talking for a while but it was the best thing I did!  The idea of having permanent damage or waiting till after the baby was here and then NOT even being allowed to pick her up was not an option for me. I'm happy with my decision even though it was a frightening one knowing I could risk the life of my baby. My deciding factor was that I wanted to be as healthy as possible for the rest of my life for my kids and a mom who can't even hold a glass of water in her left hand was not what I envisioned. Should you choose to have the surgery, I wish you all the luck in the world. It is scary for sure. I put it in Gods hands and he took care of the rest. Please let me know how you do and congrats on the baby!!  
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