I am a 26 year old male. Two and a half years ago I got into a bicycle accident. I suffered a herniated disc at C6-7. I initially had numbness and tingling in my neck and upper arm. Since the accident I have undergone acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, epidural injections, osteopathic manipulation, trigger point injections, and medications. The arm pain, numbness and tingling have all left but I now have neck pain that won't resolve. My pain is worsened by activity including walking. I am considering undergoing fusion (ACDF) at C6-7 to resolve my symptoms. The pain is just interrupting my life too much and I want to get it fixed. I have a few questions that I would like to ask:
1. Has anyone had success with fusion relieving neck pain? I have heard that the surgery is most successful in treating patients with arm pain.
2. Has anyone undergone artificial disc replacement for a cervical herniated disc? I have been told that I am a candidate for the surgery because of my young age and single level herniation. I am concerned, though, about the short history of the surgery and potential to leave the neck unstable. I've been told that the fusion is more stable than the artificial disc. Does anyone know much about the artificial disc surgery and would you be willing to talk to me about the estimated prognosis and outcome?
3. Fusion has the risk of causing disc degeneration in other discs because of altered stress created by the fusion. How has everyone done with fusion 5, 10, 20 years down the road? Has anyone needed surgery again? Are there good chances that pain totally resolves with fusion and no surgery is needed down the road?