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Upcoming cervical surgery ........... my first post to the forum

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Subject: Surgery coming up on Sept 17th

Hi Folks,
This is my first post ever although I have been reading others posts. I have both neck and back issues but currently I am focusing on getting my neck fixed. 8 years ago I had a herniated disc in my neck and while it caused pain it was something I could live with so I did. Recently (March) I developed pain and numbness in all my fingers. I did not connect this with my neck at first and the neorologist my doctor sent me to did an EMG and found out I had carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand and borderline in my left hand. He had me wear splints for a month which did not help at all. After sending me FINALLY for an MRI he found that I have 3 hernaited cervical discs (among other issues) and that my spinal cord is being compressed and nerves crushed. I've seen two neuro surgeons and an orthoped for my second opinion and all are in agreement that I need disc fusion surgery. Anyone out there who has had multiple disc fusion (neck) please tell me anything you think I should know about this surgery because I am scared to death. The first two doctors suggested fusing 4 discs and the current surgeon who will do the surgery thinks he will fuse only 3 (see below).

C3/4 large right lateral disc/osteophyte complex effaces right ventral aspects of the subarachnoid space and effaces the right ventral aspect of the spinal cord, contributing to focal contour defect of the spinal cord, spinal canal stenosis, foraminal compromise. etc etc. C6/7 disc/osteophyte complex indents upon the ventral aspects of the subarachnoid space and mildly indents the ventral aspect of the spinal cord, stenosis and foraminal encroachment etc, etc, C6/7 disc.osteophyte complex indents upon the ventral aspects of the subarachnoild space, stenosis without foraminal compromise..... I have Degenerate Disc Disease also (seems most of us do)suggested surgery fuse C3/4, 4/5, 5/6. Doctor is talking about leaving C6/7 as is. Also herniated disc and bulging discs at last lumber MRI (but that was over 20 years ago). The back I live with although my current neck problems seem to make my back worse. I find that I can't stand still for any extended time without serious back pain. Neck/shoulder/arm/hand pain makes sleeping difficult. Still working full time.



  • I had a three level fusion done four months ago. Its not as scarey as it seems.I had stenosis,spinal cord compression .It affected my whole body.most of my muscles went weak and i'm now in therapy to try and regain my muscle strength.it hurts like the devil most days but i'm seeing some improvements in strength.I'm at four months and i still can't do much. I'm only allowed to do what i was told to right after surgery until i see him again in october which will be my six month check up.i had to go all summer witout doing any kind of gardening or grass cutting,no bending,no carrying more than ten pounds. LOTS of restrictions. but the pain of the surgery was nothing compared to what i had been experiencing before i had it so i was really thrilled when i woke up from the surgery. Well if you have anymore questions just let me know.

  • Hi LJ. LJ, your report sounds like mine. I had c3 - 7 with fusion (anterior) on 8-6. The worst from the surgery is over. I'm out and about now and enjoying life again although still wearing the collar and limited with what I can do. Your throat will be sore,hard to swallow and you'll be uncomfortable for the first week or so, but I'm in my third week and every day gets better and better. I go back on 9-26 and hopefully will hear the good news that I am fusing well. I had a very severe compression and the surgeon told me the operation was a success. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about the surgery. I know you will be fine. Do you live by yourself or will you have help after the surgery?
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  • Hi Tam & Elinor,
    I want to thank you both so much for replying to me. You both seem to have similar problems to what I have. It makes me feel a little better about surgery. I work full time on a computer most days and I travel the rest of the time. My disabilty department oked me for 6 weeks disability but they will review my case at 6 weeks and extend if needed (I am hoping not to need). I am a passionate gardener and this has been one crummy summer for me. I have really limited myself on what I do outside and my oldest son has been very helpful but it makes me sad not to be gardening after work everyday. Hopefully I will do a lot of healing over the Fall and Winter and be back gardening next spring.

    Darn, I forgot to copy all my med stuff from another message so I will just do a quick recap. Cervical surgery scheduled for Sept 17th. Doctor plans to fuse 3 discs in neck and leave a forth damaged one unfused. Currently serious cord compression with referred nerve pain in fingers, hands, arms, shoulder. Hoping to get back most of the feeling in my hands but doctor expects some lasting nerve damage.
  • Good luck with your surgery ,i'm sure all will be well. How long have you had the compression? Before my surgery i had the compression for five years,pain was everywhere ,i was falling down from weak muscles ,dropping things and i was told not to do anything incase the cord compression got even worse and i was paralyzed.I walked with a cane because of balance troubles.My surgeon told me that he could fix the balance and walking trouble and get my muscle strength back but he couldn't guarantee pain relief. :))( Well i'm four months out and i was taking 8 gabapentin a day for nerve pain and now i'm down to 3. I do physical therapy twice a week to regain muscle strength,some are responding quicker then others but at least i'm seeing some improvements.Its been a long hard road to travel but i'm getting there. I know what you mean about the gardening.I love to do it myself i find it very relaxing.unfortunately i'm not allowed to do it yet but by next summer i will be back at it again.Well if you have anymore questions before your surgery you can always PM me. once again good luck. :H
  • Hi Tammy,
    I some ways it sounds like you were in worse shape then me before surgery. I have had a problem with my neck for 8 years but 8 years ago I only had one herniated disk and now I have 3. I don't know how long I have had cord compression but I expect for several years at least. I have had pain and weakness in my arms for several years but it was not correctly diagnosed until recently. Its been a joke around my house that I can't hold anything in my right hand without chancing dropping it. At any point my right hand just lets go of stuff. My left hand is not as bad and the referred nerve pain is mostly in my fingers and hand. On the right side the referred pain is in my fingers and hand and during the day (working on the computer) runs up my arm and into my shoulder / upper back and neck. My neck pain is what I think of as constant dull cronic pain that sometimes gets worse. Sometimes I get headaches that are coming from my neck. The last few days I have had a sharp pain that comes and goes on the right side of my neck. I am scared of surgery but also looking forward to it.
    Thanks for giving me information,
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  • What is the plan for your surgery? I will be having ACDF on C5-6 and C-6-7 with cages, plate and screws on 9/10. Let me know, we can compare notes.
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