Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Worried about cervical spine surgery

Butterfly413BButterfly413 Posts: 2
edited 08/13/2015 - 4:32 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm new to this forum and first of all would like to thank everyone who has posted such valuable information from their experiences. I know from previous surgeries (unrelated to neck) that a lot of docs minimize what to expect post-op, so I really appreciate the honesty in this forum.
I understand that this site is not for medical advice however having read a lot of the posts I can see that so many of you have been through
a lot and at least have an opinion on various cervical spine issues. Here is my recent MRI results and I am scheduled to see a neurosurgeon next
month. Can't tolerate NSAID's, have had acupuncture with no relief and am currently in PT but it is not helping. In fact, it is aggravating my
symptoms. As the saying goes "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail". I don't want the neuro to recommend surgery just
because that's what he always does for cervical disc disease. Does this look like surgery may be in my future? I don't want to have permanent
nerve damage but the surgery sounds like a real bear.

C3-C4: Left uncovertebral joint hypertrophy and facet joint arthropathy contribute to moderate left neural foraminal narrowing.

C4-5: Posterior disc osteophyte complex with bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy and facet joint arthropathy contributes to severe
left and moderate right neural foraminal narrowing.

C5-6: Same as C4-5 but also mild spinal canal stenosis.

C6-7: Same as C4-5. Again severe left and moderate right.

There is nobody on the forum medically qualified or permitted to give advise on a MRI finding if you are not happy with your treatment it is advisable to seek a second opinion

Welcome to Spine-Health
Please click on link for helpful information! Spine-health moderator~savage


  • Hard to say, but my advice to you is, if your doctor recommends surgery, don't wait too long. Do it ASAP. I was 19 months with disc herniations and compressed spinal nerves before I had my ACDF surgery, and because my nerves were compressed for so long, my recovery is taking longer than usual. You risk more permanent damage as well.
    Don't fear surgery. The surgery itself and recovery isn't that bad. Just be prepared ahead of time and you'll be fine.
  • Thank you so much for the encouragement. I had shoulder surgery 2 years ago for a torn labrum, rotator and bicep. The recovery was slow
    and painful and I was so excited when I could finally turn over onto my shoulder at night without the pain waking me up. So of course when
    the shoulder pain started again I just assumed that there was scar tissue or something aggravating my shoulder. Saw PT first and he said shoulder
    had good range of motion and then when he manipulated my neck he seemed very concerned and told me to schedule an MRI . As you can see
    from my previous post there is significant multi-level disc disease. My PCP wasn't much help, she just said "some docs want to operate and others won't. Am schedlued to see 2 different neuro's over the next few weeks . My concern after reading several of the posts is that the cortisone
    injections often seem to be the first line of treatment but everyone acknowledges that it is a temporary solution, particularly in multi-level
    disc disease. If that's the case and the injections only help to fend off surgery for months or a few years, why would I wait until I'm older and
    possibly less able to tolerate major surgery? It doesn't make sense to me to delay the inevitable particularly since the injections are basically
    just a band-aid. My PCP really frustrated me when I was trying to discern the next best step and as I asked questions she just said,
    "well, they'll operate on you if you want them to". This isn't about what I want! It's about getting the best medical advice from skilled physicians
    who are trained in treating cervical disc disease. Glad to hear your surgery and recovery went well. How long has your recovery taken and
    what were the most frustrating limitations? My 4th child is headed off to college in two weeks and I won't really have anyone to help out ~
    other than lots of love from my 2 dogs. Thanks again for your help.
  • advertisement
  • BlessedMom74BBlessedMom74 Posts: 322
    edited 08/14/2015 - 6:07 AM
    I'm 15 weeks post op and still recovering. I'm about 60% better. Still dealing with pain, just not as severe as before. Starting PT kind of woke up the pain again.
    Right now the most frustrating limitation is the lack of stamina. I tire easily. Going out with friends, etc.. I have about a 2 hour window then I'm just exhausted.
    You will definitely need some help. You won't b able to lift more than 8 lbs for 6 weeks. You won't be able to look up and reach up.
    It took me going to three doctors to find the help I needed. The third neurosurgeon I saw finally decided to operate. I should've been operated on well over a year ago. But they are so conservative here. I opted not to have the epidural as I did my research and decided the risk wasn't worth the minimal benefit I could get. I did have to have a facet injection to find which level was causing my issues. It made my pain 10 times worse for about a week then mellowed out.
    If you end up having surgery hopefully you can find friends to come help you out. You'll need help for the first 2 weeks for sure.
    Good luck to you. Keep me posted.
  • I also wanted someone to tell me I NEEDED the ACDF surgery. I was so frustrated because I wanted someone to make me do it. I hated having to make that decision myself. But even surgeons won't do that. It's basically "elective" as some people live with conservative treatment for the rest of their life and are OK with that. I saw a Neurologist who performed the EMG. She said I needed traction (part of PT). The first Neurosurgeon said I needed the surgery but had to go through the motions of conservative treatment for insurance reasons. I saw a second Neurosurgeon and he broke it down better for me. He also said I needed the surgery and explained why conservative treatment would never work for me. However, he also noted my complacent approach when it came to even acknowledging that fact and suggested a "selective nerve root block" and PT twice a week. The SNRB was an out patient procedure (different from epidural and/or cortisone shot). It was actually a great experience. It immediately took away the arm pain/numbness/tingling. But I still had the crushing pain, migraines and all that fun stuff in the back of my head and neck. 6 weeks later I said OK, let's do it. I stopped PT when I decided on surgery and when I did that, I realized it was in fact making me hurt worse.

    I am almost 3 months out from my one level ACDF. Honestly up until the past week or so I've been great. Sometimes feeling 100% better. Even my post surgical pain isn't near what it was before. A lot of times I can make it without medicating at all. I wait to see if the little twinge of pains are going to turn into something bigger before I run to medication. One day last week at the gym I suddenly had an eruption of muscle spasms and I left the gym immediately. It was scary and random. I took a muscle relaxer and got ready for work and since then everyday there's a little something happening but it's tolerable... I just hope whatever I did will chill pretty soon LOL. Maybe I didn't do anything? I have no idea what to expect at this point....

    Oh, I wore the soft collar religiously for the first 3 weeks following surgery. I even wore it to the gym the first two weeks of working out just to keep me right. The swallow thing.... it was tight in the hospital but they gave me two steroid shots and the neck pain and throat issues subsided almost immediately. The following week my throat had some sensations but it's never been a real issue for me.

    Please understand this is something you have to make the final call on <3
    ACDF C6/C7 on 05/20/15
    ...and it was the best decision of my life :-)
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 08/17/2015 - 1:20 PM
    I was given no choice, surgery or paralysis so that's all that was needed but I did get 4 opinions. Ortho, Neuro and had a great choice of hospitals living in Illinois. I have weakness on right side since cord was impinged but that could not fix that just made sure that no more damage occurred. I wore my collar 24/7 for 3 full months and then had to be weaned off before starting aggressive physical therapy. I will tell you this that with all my hardware it always feels like a brick in the back of my neck but I do have the use of my arms and legs. My was posterior. Also severe cervical arthritic stenosis. Good luck but see my the one surgeon.
  • advertisement
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    I suggest that you read through some of these articles and watch the video:

    Cervical Spine Surgery

    ACDF Surgery

    ACDF Video

    I've had several lumbar and cervical surgeries. Overall, I have to say that I had much better success with my cervical surgeries. The last one was done in 2000 and I still am doing very good. So, long term views of cervical surgery can be extremely positive. But with any surgery, there are a number of factors that are in your control to ensure that success.
    • - Follow all restrictions and limitations- Do not over do- Follow all exercise that have been developed for you by physical therapy- Remember you had cervical surgery

    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
  • Have banned neck collars!!! Ok for after surgery, but they weaken neck muscles if used too much and you can end up reliant on them tho iv asked for one as by the end of the day, holding my head up is tough!! But I'm told no! Which is probably for the best :/
    Kirsti x
  • Kirstij79KKirstij79 UKPosts: 160
    edited 08/17/2015 - 9:54 PM
    Kirsti x
Sign In or Register to comment.