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HELP: Fuse or refuse?

I have severe stenosis on three areas. Numbness, weaknesses of hand, upper back pain and headache are my constant companions. Multiple surgeons suggested me to get a fusion surgery(two level with cage & artificial bone). In the mean time I am confused by the following information

1) ADRs have better success rate and it scales better when it comes to more than one label. The claimed S/R is 80% or so... Discs sometimes does not attach in the right angle... the disc may fuse (Ossification).
2) Risk factors for each of the following is too high
A) death, infection, surgical complications... (I read an article that says its 18%).
B) Not fusing 10%
C) C5 palsy or some other side effects 5-10% (More like 10% in my case).
D) revision surgery (I do not know the statistics, but it is very very high).
E) allergy to metals, graft, screw or metal moving around... these probably go into A. There was a FDA warning about risks of inflammation and swelling causing breathing difficulty (even death) where artificial bone is used in multi-level cervical fusion with cadavar.
3) I have a friend who works at the rehab for spinal cord surgical patients.. she asked me not to do the surgery...
4) In the long run physical therapy brings as good as results in back pain as surgeries (according to a paper I read). Non-surgical decompression options are not even tried in my case. I do not know who to see for this.
5) There is another surgery that only cuts to create spaces... but it is rarely used. Non-fusion decompression surgery has less risks and no/low revision chance...
6) My neurologist asked me not to have surgery (with three severe stenosis) and my sister's doctors back home asked her to get a surgery (she has mild/moderate stenosis).
7) There is no way to verify the success & experience of the surgeon. I am even starting to doubt whether surgeons have any incentives for us to try non-surgical decompression.

I am running out of time...
I am confused... I wish there was a way of using inversion table, PT and tracion before trying surgery.
MRI shows C4-C7 severe steonosis. Pain in hand.


  • Well,If your stenosis and symptoms are like mine as they sound,then it will degrade slowly until you lose functions of your limbs..Slow motion parapalegia is what mine did to me..Slow steady for years then once my discs collapsed and compressed the nerves,it was get laminectomy,or a wheelchair..Im guessin I was a month from a chair..But that may not be you of course,just watch for changes or worsening,then RUN to them,risks be damned..Hehe..Good luck and I hope you find an alternative.

    ""Numbness, weaknesses of hand""

    Yea,thats how mine started as c-5 collapsed and pinched the nerve that runs your hands,wrists and eventually arms.My fingers went from mild to dead as wood..The longer you are compressed,the less chance at recovery of injured nerves..But again,that may not be you..
  • SukhreSSukhre San Diego, CAPosts: 181
    I have to do something about it... but would it be fusion? ADR? Is there a third alternative?
    MRI shows C4-C7 severe steonosis. Pain in hand.
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 07/19/2015 - 5:15 PM
    Did you see and ortho or Neuro surgeon?
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