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Cervical Fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello to Everyone,

I am brand new to this forum. I've just visited my Neurosurgen this morning and he told me that I need Anterior Cervical Fusion surgery.

This was my first visit with this Dr and he reviewed a recent MRI and Xray's which showed that showed that I had a 40% impingment on my spine at C6-C7. I also had lesser problems at C3, C4 and C5. He told me that my situation was critical and that a fall or accident could kill me or paralize me for life. Of course that scared the heck out of me. He asked me if I wanted to go ahead with surgery now and I told him I needed to talk with my wife and digest this information. I have a return appointment in 2 weeks.

Many people that I know, including a retired surgeon, have told me not to get surgery unless it was absolutly necessary.

My question is, can DDD be that critical and can anyone give me some advise as to where I can get additional informatiom so I can make an informed decision?

Thank you for any assistance you can give.


  • hi,this is a great site, many people will be here for you, We have many of the same issues, I will like to talk to you about your situation, i have to leave right now, ill talk to ya later.... glad to have you join the board!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    To have surgery or not! That is a question that is raised so often here. The final decision has to remain with your doctor and yourself. Of all the spinal surgeries, I think if you read these boards and look through the internet you will find Cervical surgeries to have some of the best success rates and quicker recovery time.
    My personal feeling regarding surgery is that you hold off until you have exhausted all conservative treatments.
    Go through the Physical and Aqua therapy, Ultrasound, Massage therapy, Passive traction, Spinal Injections, Acunpuncture, etc. See what kind of benefits you could gain from those. When all conservative treatments do not corrected the problem, then surgery is the solution.

    Please, this is my opinion only, you need to discuss this in detail with your doctor.

    For most folks, DDD does not require surgery. Only with the rare and severe cases is surgery needed. DDD itself is basically the aging of the spine. Almost everyone over 30 will show some signs of DDD. Exercise programs and over the counter medications (NSAIDS) can manage most DDD situations.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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  • Hello, and welcome to SH. After reading your post, I would say get a second (or third) opinion as soon as you can. I don't think I would have surgery based on one neurosurgeon's opinion. I have you seen any other docs? --Mazy
  • I had MRI done in July. I have very conservative neurologist and neurosurgen as well. When they saw my C5- C6 herniated discs inmy neural canal - touching, but not pressing ontomy spine they said same thing that they recommend surgery for same reason - fall or car accident can killor paralyze me. Not even 2 weeks later when returning from doctor's office(my husband was driving and we had our 2 and 1/2 yrs old son with us, we stopped behind the car which was turning into shopping center - guess what - a car hit us from back - it was not a bad hit- we heard car breaks screaching and it was kind of a small bump - small bend into our bumper only. Well,everyone ok - exceptme - 2 days later I was hospitalized in fever, shivering, sweating and my heart beat irregular - this was around 27th of July. I went later in August to my neurologist and he ordered new MRI. Now my disc is almost 30% in my spine.Now he said - asmuch conservative he is about surgery, next small accident, bad movement of the head or me tripping and falling down could paralyze me. I spoke tomy parents - they are both doctorsand they were first against surgery - said last as long as you can without it, but now since they saw what a little bump into car did to me they want me to do it asap. So i had the best 2nd and 3rd opinion I could have - you know your parents dont wont any harm to you. Since you have already 40% compression, I guess your doctors are right to urge you to do the surgery asap. I am seeing my neurosuren next wednesday and I'll tell you what he said to me. I trust him, bc he made excellent impression on me by explaining everything and not forcing me when i saw himin the past.

    Take care and we'll talk later
  • sorry to hear about your accident, geez the last thing you needed!
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  • I got a very similar speech to you. I was told that any type of fall could result in death because of the amount of compression and impingement on my spine. I was also told that even if very careful that without surgery that as the condition continued to worsen with age, and it would, that I had a very, very strong chance of losing control of the lower half of my body including my bowels and bladder. He then added that as far along as mine had progressed he was surprised the former hadn't already happened and that he thought there was a good chance it would within the next year begin to happen.

    Now my neurosurgeon is a very well known doctor and Professor of Neurosurgery at a highly thought of University. I made some calls to other doctors, my neurologist, my pain doctor, and my orthopedic as well as a couple other neurosurgeons I'd seen. They all described him as conservative regarding his views towards what qualifies as necessary for needing surgery. One even classified him as "ultra-conservative". Needless to say I agreed to have the surgery.

    My suggestion to you is make some calls. If he is in fact considered a conservative Doc, I'd have the surgery. I've had back surgery before and have had problems as a result. My doctors conservative nature tied to the thought of having to wear adult diapers at 42 or falling and leaving my wife and children without a father/husband made it a no brainer.

    It's your decision but I'd do it.
  • welcome! I am new here as well. I also have C6/C7 significant protrusion (herniation) pressing on my spinal cord, but I do not know the percentage. Why it's not listed in the report, I don't know. I am right now receiving Epidural steroid injections. I had my 2nd one yesterday yet, with no relief so far. I'm wondering, can you post your MRI report so we can compare notes. Here's mine: Anyhoo, my Dr. said if after 3 still no relief, he will then refer me to aneurosurgeon because I have been dealing with this since 10/7 off and on.

    **MRI Cervical Spine without Contrast. The vertebrae are normally aligned. Stature of the vertebral bodies is maintained. Spinal cord is of normal morphology with exception of ventral impression on the cord in the left paramedian location at C6-7 secondary to moderate protrusion of the nucleus pulposus. There is no evidence of tonsillar herniation, and the foramen magnum is normal in appearance. There is mild/moderate broad-based bulging in the disk/endplate complex at C5-6, but this finding does not cause impression on the spinal cord, there is no spinal or foraminal stenosis at this level.

    Impression: Significant protrusion of the nucleus pulposus at C6-7, finding is positioned in the left paramedian location and causes mild ventral impression on the spinal cord. It is also possible that this finding may impinge the traversing left C8 root. Otherwise unremarkable MRI of the cervical spine.

    Note: 2005 Cervical MRI did mention facet arthopy or bone spurs, but this one didn't that's weird, cause they just don't dissapear ;)

  • I had 3 opinions just to be safe and sure I really needed the surgery. If your insurance will do it, you should go for it.
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