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Considering level one ACDF or Rhizotomy?

ddalton71dddalton71 Posts: 8
edited 11/01/2015 - 8:56 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
i have had compression at c5 and c7 for about 5 years due to arthritis. i am 62 years old and in great health
and i exercise, lift weights, bike, and hike daily. i am 5' 10" and weigh 175 lbs. i live in southern arizona
and i have recently been under the care of an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal operations.
i am confident that he is a qualified surgeon.
over the last five years , i have received three epidural cortisone injections with little success from the
injections. typically the painful burning and stinging resolves itself after 8 to 12 weeks from onset. without any relief attributed to cortisone shots or NSAIDs.
i have been diagnosed as having cervical spinal stenosis confirmed by 2 MRIs in 2010 and 2015 and by 2 different spine doctors.
my condition is such that i am not debilitated but rather experience a great deal of soreness and burning
in my back and left arm along the ulnar nerve.
i have watched the video on this site regarding the ACDF surgery and i have read subject correspondence in the forums.
i am somewhat alarmed at what a great ordeal recovery can be and i have never known of anyone personally
who had spinal surgery with fusion without compromising their future health and well being and mobility.
my surgeon claims that his ACDF surgeries are 92 % effective. Although i do not know what is the measuring stick for effectiveness in this procedure? I recently read an article [edit]
stating that his research into claims of 95% success for ACDF surgery were inflated and the reality was a 70% success
with 10% requiring a second operation to correct deficiencies from the the first ACDF.

if you notice i am typing now with my right hand only because typing with the left hand causes pain and burning.
i have stopped doing all physical activities which render pain with the exception of walking 4 miles daily and an occasional yoga class.

at my most recent epidural procedure, the pain doctor mentioned that he could perform a Rhizotomy on my nerves
left arm and that might last for a considerable period of time before the condition returns. ironically, i saw a friend friday night
who swore by Rhizotomies that she had performed (5 in number ) over that last ten years at the same Medical Practice and she has experienced much pain relief.
she is 67 years old and has several herniated discs among other back issues, yet Rhizotomies have made her life bearable
and she is in no way disabled.
Does anyone on these forums have any experience that you could share with me?
I consider an ACDF level one to be extremely AGGRESSIVE in my situation and I also live
by myself in a town where my nearest friend is 50 miles away. I know that I would not be able to take care
of myself should the recovery period prove to be long and difficult.

Thanks for your attention,


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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