Aloha. I've been following Spine-Health since shortly after it began, but just registered so that I can post on the forums.
My name is David, I am 60, very fit, active and healthy. I am 5'9, 134 lbs. I need your help.
No family history of neck or back disease.
22 years ago I had a 60 mph meeting with a 1300 lb. moose (in a little VW Rabbit which "became a convertible"). . . . . not good.
Lots of maxofacial reconstruction - 5 months "wired" shut maxilla / mandible...
I also sufferred a herniated disc, and a fusion was recommended at the time - but barely able to breathe / eat, I opted to wait.
I've lived with it for 22 years . . . LOTS of PT, yoga, massage, acupuncture, and BOTH epidural and nerve root block injections.
I have a high threshold for pain . . . I'm not sure if that is good or bad. The pain in my neck and arms has finally become more than I can tolerate some days, though I am extremely reticent to use pain meds. I finally went to my doc's PA in July. She sent me for another MRI. (I had them in 2009, 2006, and soon after my "moosestake" in 1993.)
I NOW have C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7 deterioration:
C3-C4 Mild disc degenrative change. slight anterolisthesis. Posterior facet, unconvertebral joint hypertrophic change left worse than right (moderate + left, mild right neural foramina narrowing.
C4-C5 Moderate to marked degenerative R neural foramina narrowing
C5-C6 Moderate to marked degenerative bilateral neural foramina narrowing right worse than left
C6-C7 Moderate to marked degenreative bilateral neiral foramina narrowing, mild canal stenosis
From my most recent MRI, my Dr. referred me to a local neurosurgeon (NS). The NS wants to perform surgery to remove all 3 discs and fusion (cage and stainless steel plate) from C3 to C7 (3 discs 4 vertabrae).
I asked him about other surgical options (having already done quite a bit of research over the years) and he basically said I had none. Not very happy with him.... for several reasons that don't need discussing....
After doing further research on Cervical Endoscopic Surgeries (Posterior Endoscopic Cervical Discectomy and Foraminotomy) and laser utilization in discectomies, I'd like to be evaluated for suitability.... I like what I have read to date: that it is less invasive, less risk, quicker surgical recovery, restricts range of motion less, and does not simply transfer rotation (and the associated wear and tear) to the adjoining levels...
The problem is there are NO doctors in my area that DO this surgery. (North Idaho / Eastern Washington). I am willing to travel for this newer surgical proceedure if I am determined to be a good candidate.. I imagine I can SEND my recent MRI and MRI Patient Report initially....
So . . . I'd like to know of Surgeons in the US who DO perform this proceedure and if you have any feedback, recommendations, or concerns about a particular surgeon. As I mentioned, I am willing to travel. (My med. insurance did approve me for the NS's recommended fusion surgery - Iimagine they'll cover this newer proceedure.)
I will be seeing my personal Dr. TB (who is a great guy and a personal friend) 10/20 (ON my 60th birthday . . . oh well...!!) I will seek his assistance in finding a NS to refer me to. BTW: It was Dr. TB's new PA who referred me for my most recent MRO and then to this local NS.... (Dr. TB later commented that he "often refers to another NS" - but of course, that NS does not perform these newer surgical proceedures either.)
I welcome and appreciater your experience, knowledge, recommendations, or cautions!
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I've read so many posting responses from Spine-Health asking posters to include the information that I've tried to include in my post here....
Mahalo Mucho! (thanks)