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Alternatives to fusion for neck

ArualAArual Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Anyone have a different proceedure...something less invasive?


  • Arual,

    First off, love the quote. Jaws is one of my all time favorite movies.

    There are lots of alternatives to cervical fusion, but it all depends on what your doctor is saying needs to be done. There are a myriad of non surgical protocols to deal with cervical issues, such as physical therapy and steroid injections to name a couple. There are also artificial discs (ADR).

    Has fusion been recommended by your doctor? If so, and you are looking for alternatives the best thing to do is get a second (or third, fourth) opinion from other doctors.

    While in my opinion neuro/ortho surgeons that specialize in spine are the best to diagnose problems, I have found that physiatrists are an excellent doctor to have in one's arsenal. They are very good at diagnosing the source of pain and coming up with options for treating it.

    I researched ADR pretty intensely before I had my fusion, but since I needed two levels done I didn't qualify as a candidate. There are also minimally invasive cervical fusions, but it is still a pretty major surgery.

    In the end it all depends on what your symptoms are and what doctors are telling you. A little more info on your situation would be helpful.

  • Aural,

    What did the surgeon say? What I know from the bone spurs is that they are grown as the bodies way of self protecting. You won't see many people who get ADR who have DDD and bone spurs. Bone spuring can be an indication of movement (instability)- the body grows them to help stabalize. That is probably why you are being rec for fusion.

    Do you have arm/hand pain or issues?

    Feel Better,

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  • Well, I guess you could get your neck removed and just have them put your head on top of your shoulders. That's what I need...

    (Just a little humor there...)

    Like Julie, I believe that those bone spurs are your worst enemy. I don't know if they can do a cervical microdiscectomy to go in and shave those down because there might also be instability.

    It all depends on what's going on and only a doc will be able to tell you what other options there might be.

    Good luck.
  • you gave me a good laugh there , im allowed as i have one messed up neck from C1-T1

    hi aural, im waiting to talk with my ns about mine, i have them from C1- T1, pressing on my cord with a host of other stuff going on.

    what has your ns/os said , re surgical options?

    welcome to sh
  • A good alternative to fusion is Prolotherapy.
    You could search youtube on "Prolotherapy Lecture"
    Prolo works,is safe and natural and a very good choice to try before fusion.
    PM me if you need more info.

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  • Jaws is my favorite movie of all time. So there.

    The surgeon wants to do a fusion, but my PT guy said my neck wasn't bad enough for that, and I agree with him. I would prefer to have the spurs taken care of and have the herniated disc traded out for an artificial one.

    I'm definitely going to get another opinion, but I really don't trust these surgeons. Seems all they want is money. There are so many people on this site who have had failed surgeries.

    I've tried everything but surgery. I'm doing PT for the second time in three months, mainly because the last epidural didn't work out - there was a complication that made the pain worse. I get a little better each time I go, so I'm going to stick with it for as long as I can.

    But most of the time I think...maybe this is as good as it gets.

    And Cath, if I could remove my neck and just stick my head on my shoulders, I'd do it, even though it may look a little goofy.

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