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My father :( Looks like possible neck surgery--advice, experience, sympathetic ears please

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Pull up a chair for this one. My father has a back history that makes my spine look like that of an Olympic athlete's.

1963: Dad, age 24, goes into severe spasm after working in the yard. The "thing to do" at the time was what they did: lower lumbar fusion. My folks celebrated their first anniversary in the hospital.

He is more or less okay...until:

1992: Dad falls on ice while on a business trip. Because it was a business trip, it's treated as worker's comp--and he's sent to USELESS doctors who tell him he cracked his hip. BS. YEARS later, on re-evaluation, they realized he'd broken his hip AND his back, but since nothing was ever done the hip reset incorrectly.

Over the next decade, all hell broke loose. The fall shattered the lower lumbar fusion, and it starts to splinter into his spinal column. He suffers from hellacious pain and moments of paralysis, and he's pulled off work...never to return.

FTR, there was a lawsuit filed, and suffice it to say my father will never have to pay for any medical care relating to his spine, ever. Considering all that's happened, it's small compensation, but it's one less concern.

1996: Unsure what else to do, Dad has experimental spinal surgery at UCLA. 2 titanium rods are inserted, and the femur of a cadaver is sliced to create new vertebral discs (apparently they were ALL worn to nothing in the lumbar and lower thorasic areas). There were two major procedures--they went in through the front and back, and harvested bone from his hip to aid the fusion.

2000: Dad is diagnosed with rapidly advancing Parkinson's. Part of the disease means he stumbles and falls, often. He's broken his feet so many times they're now mishapen.

Summer 2008: Dad's left hand becomes paralyzed, and then his right. The doc thinks it's a pinched nerve from how he sleeps (Parkinson's makes him sleep HARD in slumped-over positions). They do an MRI of his neck just to rule out problems there...and what do they show? Severe neck problems, possibly requiring surgery. I'm not clear what, as Mom was vague because she was too upset and I didn't want to press.

Honestly, Dad's health is so poor...I don't know that he'll be able to handle another major surgery. :(

I hope to God I'm not looking into my future. As for my Dad, I don't know what. Good heavens, this blows. :''(


  • My heart goes out to you at this moment. This is such a hard thing to deal with and it can be overwhelming. There's nothing worse then seeing one of your loved ones suffer with a progressive illness as well when you're having pain also. Just to let you know I'm thinking warm thoughts for you. From one of your friends here. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thank you so much, Charry. I just got off the phone with Mom and she read his MRI report to me:
    C2/C3 thecal sac indentation likely posterior cord indentation
    C3/C4 level shows partial level segmentation anomaly
    C5/C6 3mm disc protrusion/herniation with associated end plate osteoarthritic ridging indenting thecal sac with likely anterior cord flattening and indentation
    Anterior and posterior cord indentation?? Sounds like his cord is kinked into an S. :/

    But, it was heartening to hear because it sounds to my very, very novice ears that it might not be major spinal surgery, but more of a cleaning-up of the arthritic changes and whatnot. Of course, with Dad's medical conditions (he has a heart condition, too), ANY surgery is stressful.

    Cervical spineys, this lumbar spiney is a bit unfamiliar with your territory. Anything in his MRI sound familiar or noteworthy?

    FTR, the pain specialist who had ordered (and was reading) the MRI told my folks not to go to a community hospital, but one such as UCLA or Cedar-Sinai where there is more expertise. Perhaps because of Dad's other conditions, and not because his neck in and of itself is so bad? Remains to be seen.
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  • Bumping...looking for our cervical surgery spineys' input, please. >:D<
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