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Scheduled cervical ADR but would like advice, please

slou92sslou92 Posts: 0
edited 01/17/2018 - 5:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I hope this isn’t
too long winded for my first post. I’m confused and looking for

I have surgery
scheduled for Feb 14th to have an ADR on my C6-C7. I’ll
copy my latest MRI results after the body of this message if anyone
wants to read it. Here’s my background:

I’m 43 years
old. In 2006 I woke up with severe upper back pain on my right side.
It was so bad I couldn’t move. That pain never fully went away,
although now it’s usually at a low level and I don’t really notice it
all the time. I can’t sleep on my right side to this day and
certain things make it pretty bad. Some days it's bad enough to limit my activity, but not always.  Long story short the Dr. I saw at
the time ordered an MRI and the diagnosis was that it was cervical
DDD that was causing the pain. I had facet blocks twice but they
were inconclusive. The reason for this is that the pain is
inconsistent. My upper back would be very painful when the blocks
were scheduled but on both occasions the pain was very minimal on the
day of the procedure. I learned to live with this and for the most
part if I remained active it was under control.

Last winter I
started having pain in my left upper back. It was a burning/stabbing pain in the same location as the right side.  I thought at first that
it was because of poor posture while using the computer but one day I
woke up with a numb thumb and index finger and severe pain radiating
down the back of my arm. I also had neck pain and the upper back
pain on both sides. Depending on how I moved my neck, sometimes I
would have pins and needles in my hand. interestingly, if I kept my head forward,
the pain was not unbearable but if I attempted to stand with proper
posture (or used a pillow that was too flat), the pain was
unbearable. The pain was so bad during my MRI I almost gave up and
pressed the button to quit. After maybe 5 weeks of physical therapy the pain was
pretty much gone but the numbness remains. The spine surgeon I saw
offered an ADR and after trying physical therapy again I consented
and scheduled.  Insurance has approved the procedure.

I have two areas
of confusion:

The numbness in
my left thumb/index finger gets worse but it never gets completely
better. It’s pretty aggravating, but manageable. This has been
constant since April. I do get occasional radiating pains in my arm
but nothing like they were in April/May. I think I should get the
surgery now while I’m relatively young and the nerve damage is
minor. I think if I wait I may regret this. I don’t want to have
any muscle atrophy or lasting numbness if I can help it and the
thought that the pain I had in the spring could come back is
unnerving. My job is pretty physical at times (mechanical engineer working for the Navy) and I also am concerned that my job may be affected if I let it go too long.  Also, now  is a good time
for me to take off work for surgery, but I don’t know what may
happen in the future.
That said, I’d like some opinions on getting the
surgery if I don’t really have pain right now.

Second, the surgeon (who is very well regarded and experienced with this procedure) wants to do a single
level at C6-C7. This confuses me because my numbness is mostly in my thumb which would point to C5-C6. The MRI shows the C6-C7 level is
the bad one and the Dr. did imaging in his office. I’m sure he has
his reasons and I plan on asking him at my pre-op visit, but that is
February 02. Any thoughts are appreciated.

MRI results from
late May 2017:

C2/3 normal

C3/4 no disc
protrusion or canal stenosis. Mild bilateral degenerative neural
foramen stenosis.

C4/5 no disc
protrusion or canal stenosis. Uncovertebral hypertrophy mild to
moderately narrows the right neural foramen.

C5/6 no disc
protrusion or canal stenosis. Uncovertebral hypertrophy mild to
moderately narrows both neural foramen, slightly worse on the right.

C6/7 minimal disc
bulge, mildly narrows the spinal canal without significant cord
deformity. Uncovertebral hypertrophy severely narrows the left and
moderately to severely narrows the right neural foramen.

C7/T1 normal

Thanks for any




  • @slou92

    I’m wondering if you had the surgery? If so, how did it go? I myself am waiting to be scheduled for ADR at C6/C7. So much of your post sounds like me. Just curious how you’re doing.

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