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Ruptured Disc C5/C6, is Fusion my only option?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,082
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi, i have a rutured disc in c5/c6. i am being advised to have a fusion of these two vertebrae but i am a little uneasy about the long term success of this surgery. i have just decided to cancel my planned surgery for tomorrow. i know that i am taking a risk of damaging my spine by leaving this condition untreated but am hoping with time it may heal. i am not entirely satisfied with the idea of spinal fusion as i have a fear that with surfing and all the other activities i partake in that i would undoubtably put a lot of stress on the discs above and below and end up having to return for surgery for further fusions. therefore ending up with a completely useless neck unable to turn my head. i am only 27.
i was hoping that i would have the option of getting a artificial disc replacement but this is not possible as the disc has travelled up behind my vertebrae so far that the surgeon will need to cut out too much bone.

also i have noticed in the axial cut that the bulge pressing into the spine seems to be separate from the disc, as if the annulus of the disc is fully intact? is it possible that the nucleus could have leaked out, the annulus then healed leaving ruptured material in the spinal canal? i have the slides from my mri posted at the following links:



i hope someone out there can help as i have seen 2 neurosurgeons and have nowhere else to go. i am also open to any suggestions as to where else i can get help.

thanks in advance




  • I am only 6 days out of the surgery that you have just canceled and I feel wonderful. The moment I opened my eyes in recovery; my pain was GONE!! My only regret was waiting so long in seeking relief!! I can honestly say that I am already better than prior to surgery and it hasn't been a week!! I had C6-7 replaced with cadaver implants with titanium plates/bolts with an incision in my right-side neck area of about 1.5 inches. I am still a little swollen, but the temporary pain that I have right now pales in comparison to what I was living with on a daily agonizing basis. I urge you to reconsider your decision!! I too have an extremely active life and the way I feel today, I will be able to return shortly to ALL my activities!! I (after mere days) have more mobility, NO pain (besides incisional) and feel more "stable" in my neck than I have in years. I don't even "hear' all the noise when I move around that I used to hear.

    Think again, Ray - talk to another surgeon if you have to. I spoke to four before I found the one that I allowed to cut me!! Keep looking, maybe you just haven't found the right doctor yet!!

    Good luck
  • Thanks so much for your words! I think i will do what you did and speak to a few more surgeons before i go under the knife. Strangely enough, while my ruptured disc is quite large and appears to be pressing well into the spine i am not in alot of pain. It is more akin to the discomfort you would get if you were straining your neck in one position for a few minutes. I suppose this is partly why i am uneasy about the operation as I don't have the pain alerting me to danger of an unstable neck.

    I hope all goes well with your recovery.

    Thanks gain :)
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  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,033
    Hey Ray,
    You don't want to risk the possibility of paralysis by letting this go too long.
    Get another opinion or have another chat with the other neurosurgeons. A simple slip and fall could cause permanent severe spinal cord damage that is not reversible once the cord is severed. Don't count your surfing career done after a fusion but I won't say it's advisable to continue that activity. Your surgeon is the one to speak to about that.
    Best to you and good luck!
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