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Two level cervical fusion no pain?

AapreciateAAapreciate Posts: 4
edited 07/21/2015 - 9:33 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi I'm new and very scared. I have been recommended to have two level Fusion for C5-6 and C6-7 in August. I'm very lucky to have little pain but my hands are increasingly numb and tingling due to disc pressure right on the spinal chord. Doc says if I don't have the surgery the numbness and loss of function will get worse. And may already be permanent.

I have had symptoms for about 2.5 months. Doc says even if things get better on symptoms I will eventually need the fusion.

I am very worried about two level fusion. Also not sure if I am rushing this without giving myself time to maybe heal without it. The hand dysfunction is annoying only though the thought of it getting worse is terrifying.

Should also mention I'm 53 and not super fit. Worked at a very busy job last five years, gained weight. Also to make everything even more fun, moving to Oregon this Tuesday (planned months ago of course) but planning to come back to California for the surgery.

Any advice will be appreciated. As will hand-holding.


  • 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
  • I had very little pain at the time I had myelopathy, which is caused by spinal cord compression. I did have a lot of pain about 4-6 months before then though. If you truly have myelopathy, then surgery is definitely necessary.
    If you haven't gotten a second (and possibly third) opinion, I would definitely do that.
    And personally, I would find a good surgeon where you're moving to. It was pretty painful sitting in a car on bumpy roads for a while. In fact, one of my guidelines for the first two weeks was no travel over 50 miles. I really didn't think the surgery was *that* painful otherwise though.
    Good luck!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 554
    edited 07/22/2015 - 9:41 AM
    Having pain is not the reason to have surgery. Surgery is done to fix or repair the damage & to stop it from progressing.
    You have compression on your spine & are experiencing symptoms. The compression is not going to go away on its own.
    I agree with TWynnB. Get some other opinions. Ask the surgeons what to expect if you choose to delay the surgery.
    Good luck with your move & don't be lifting anything heavy.
  • I too was initially told by my surgeon that Fusion was necessary. Ultimately after shifting to a different medical institution with outstanding neurosurgeons, 2 level disc replacement (arthroplasty) was offered, which I elected - surgery was conducted this past Friday (17 August). In my case virtually no post operative pain - no mpain meds needed, by 72 hours felt completely normal (enough to walk 5 miles with almost full range of motion in my neck).

    In short if you can avoid fusion, strongly urge you to do so... (not all will be good candidates for arthroplasty so it will be up to the surgeon to figure out if the degenerative process impacting your spine is non compatible with this procedure).

  • To add to the comments already provided, I think you have a little more time to explore your options. Is your spine stable? If so, you may want to speak to other doctors at other institutions about arthroplasty.

    In my case, I had no pain whatsoever. My spinal cord was compressed by 50% (ruptured disk) and my spine was not stable at two levels. Sadly, I was not a candidate for arthroplasty as confirmed by 4 different neurosurgeons. My condition was caused by an accident, and resulted in myelopathy. I was loosing strength on the right side, my hands lost small motor function (had difficulty with buttons, phone keys and holding on to small things) , I had persistent numbness in my fingers and (weirdly) numbness in my face. I lived with these symptoms for about two month before i've decided to go on with the surgery. Some doctors told me that my condition may not improve much. One was optimistic given my relatively young (i'm in my 30's) age and the recent onset of the problems.

    So, it's been a year since my ACDF that went without complications. I am convinced that I didn't have a choice other then this procedure. My function returned completely at week 5 and numbness eventually vanished at month 3 post-surgery. The facial numbness went away at about 1 month mark. I do get more painful muscle spasms every so often, something that i didn't have before the surgery. But i'll take that over loosing control of my hands any-day. Also, I get occasional pins and needles in my fingers, always hoping they are temporary and so far they have been. I've noticed my symptoms surface when i'm very tired or have been too physically active. I've also had a bad fall lats month but seemed to have gotten lucky this time.

    Some days I even forget completely that I had a surgery, but i always will have to be more careful then most. Personally, i'm glad I didn't wait too long for my symptoms to become permanent. I would never resort to this surgery if I had a choice, but I didn't. I feel like i've done all the research I could, spoke to as many professionals as I could, and picked the best doctor that I could. I really can't stress enough the importance of working with the doctor you trust the most. Knowing this makes it easier to accept whatever consequences of the surgery.

    Good luck to you, I wish the best outcome for your situation!
  • Hi, I am 52, had 2 level C5, C6 in April of this year. Never have pain, just tingling when look up or in certain position (for years) . then muscle weakness (Bicep and Shoulder) set in all of a sudden after the new year, Surgeon said I need surgery so I won't lose that arm (Right). I was very nervous for a while but I don't want to lose the use of my arm, my grip is good but that's about it. anyway, now almost 4 month post op, doing great, no pain, no tingling, my shoulder strength came back very good, bicep improved but I can only curl a 3 pound weight for 5 to 6 times, it might take a year or two to get back to normal ... if it will get back to 100%. Another post ops in 2 weeks, hope for signs of fusing.

    So no pain doesn't mean not urgent, it really depends on your situation, get a 2nd and 3rd opinion. Good luck with your decision
  • Trying to look more into disc replacement but cannot find a doc that does 2 level. Hoping to soon! Thanks for the responses. :)
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