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  #1  
Old 08-26-2007, 07:33 PM
John John is offline
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John

O.K. I have been having problems for the last 20 years. Started out with lower back pain 20 years ago, would come and go and was always cured after muscle relaxers for 2 or 3 days. Five years ago I started having problems with my hands where I would get like a charlie horse in my hands and all my fingers would pull together.I wold have to pull my fingers straight again and work them out again. Saw a neuorologist for this and had electrical nerve test done and he diagnosed this as carpel tunnel syndrome LOL. Well lately last 6 months my legs kick out all nite while sleeping. My left foot and left front shin is always asleep, lower back pain most days, there was 3 days I had to use crutches to walk but O.K. now. I saw a orthopedic doctor who ordered MRI's and he called me right in the next day and said I need cervical disc surgery as my spinal cord is getting crushed and wants to operate right away. Yes I saw the films but I don't even take pain pills. So is this that big of an emergency my wife is scared to death because the doctor said if i cough or sneeze or fall i may never walk again. He wants to cut a hole in my neck and access my spine. Any help from others would be very great. Thanks all! JOHN
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2 level fusion c-5 c-6
47 Years Old but my bones are 90
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2007, 11:34 PM
annapurna annapurna is offline
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Without a lot of detail it's difficult to give a firm answer but my first reaction is to tell you to pay attention what your body's telling you. Pain is weird and difficult to use as an absolute gauge for how 'bad' you really are. You might be as bad as your doctor and neurological symptoms seem to be saying you are.

If it was me, I'd work as quickly as I could on getting a second opinion but also continue down the path of the surgery. Depending on how bad the films look I'd delay the actual surgery until I got the second opinion but get all the insurance approvals, blood work, etc. all sorted out in case the second opinion was as bad as the first. I don't know how much of an over-reaction this is so I'm taking the attitude that you have very limited time before something needs to be done and advising from that standpoint. I hope that this turns out to be less severe than that.
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Laura - L5S1 Charitee
C5/6 and 6/7 Prodisc C
Facet problems L4-S1
General joint hypermobility

Jim - minor C5-6 instability and facet damage, currently using regenerative medicine to address

"There are many Annapurnas in the lives of men" Maurice Herzog
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2007, 12:08 AM
tmont tmont is offline
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John,

I agree with Annapurna. You need to pay attention to your body's signals even if you're not taking pain meds. Take your MRI and report, get a second opinion ASAP but also ask the one who already wants to operate what he wants to do exactly. There are several things he might be talking about: fusion (arthroplasty,), ADR (artificial disc replacement), laminoplasty and laminectomy (these are posterior or 'back of the neck' approaches).

Once you know that, you can read up on the proposed technique(s) and study your options. Even if you need treatment fairly soon, the more info you have, the better you'll be able to make your decisions and that makes for at least a bit less stress when you go in for your surgery. Lots of people here can help you with explaining techniques and many have had surgery already.

Let us know how you progress. Courage.

Trace
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2007, 12:33 PM
kanutta kanutta is offline
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Hello. Your story reminds me of a a member of the online support group for neck issues i have in Norway. She had both lumbal and cervical problems; and her symptoms were the same as you're describing.
They did a laminectomy in lower spine, but her symptoms didn't go away, because they were coming from her cervical spinal cord, she had myelopathy, as it seems you may be having symptoms of too.

It seems she waited too long with surgery, so her symptoms did'nt completely go away; but still her gait problems did improve substantially; even if she have issues with balance and motorical problems.

Her story made an impact on me; so always when I hear of spinal cord compression and myelopathy; I see a red flag. Time aspect can be very important in your case, with irreversible loss of function if one waits too long.

And you don't neccessary have to experience much pain with myelopathy; so thats not an important parameter.

Don't want to scare you; but since it seems you have clinical signs of spial cord compression, it is something to take very seriously.
Spinal cord compression does not always lead to symptoms; but when it does...I guess time is very important.
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2007, 05:53 PM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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John, welcome to our community! I am happy to help in any way. When you can, pls insert a signature (see the welcome email). Call any time if you need help with the discussion board application, or if you want to delve into your situation and think through next steps, find doctors, information resources, etc.
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2007, 07:19 PM
John John is offline
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Wow fhanks everyone for the replies,I feel so alone and helpless in this matter.I am wondering this doctor is a orthopedic specialist and is this who should be doing this surgery,or perhaps a neurologist. I beleive this to be c-4 c-5 or maybe c-6 c-7 and the doctor wants to go anterior and put in a fusion and a steel plate. This will be my first surgery ever at 46 years old and it is scareing me to death. Having someone cut a hole in my neck and move all my vital parts out of the way to access my spine.I have a wonderful wife and 2 daughters and am recently a grandfather so I have a lot of people counting on me.Sorry to run on like that LOL. I raced motocross for many years and played Hockey and I guess I will have to pay for beating myself up everyday for 46 years. The doctor was saying there were risks like cutting nerves or a vocal cord or infection and I am not feeling very lucky right now.My Mri's all showed the cord with a white ring around it and the problem one was all black with nothing around it. Thanks for letting me rant. John
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2007, 02:54 AM
annapurna annapurna is offline
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First, the risks he's described are what you'd expect for a cervical spine surgery. Second, if you don't know which level your bad disk is at, you need a second opinion bad because your first surgeon hasn't given all the information you'd need yet. A single level of black (dessicated, water's diffused out and the disk height has been lost) disk isn't bad enough to describe all of your symptoms unless the disk also herniated and is pressing on your cord. That, in combination with your disk height loss, makes you a likely candidate for disk replacement, either ADR or fusion, but remember my opinion is probably worth less than you've paid for it.
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Laura - L5S1 Charitee
C5/6 and 6/7 Prodisc C
Facet problems L4-S1
General joint hypermobility

Jim - minor C5-6 instability and facet damage, currently using regenerative medicine to address

"There are many Annapurnas in the lives of men" Maurice Herzog
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  #8  
Old 08-28-2007, 03:12 AM
tmont tmont is offline
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John,

Spine surgery is scary and I felt exactly as you did before my C6-C7 fusion at age 36. I had no choice, however, as my pain was incapacitating. But I was so scared about having my neck cut into that I had tears in my eyes when they put me out, so I know how you feel. I was imagining all sorts of horrors and a tangled weave of nerves, veins and arteries and my spinal cord in the middle of it all...was terrified of waking up paralyzed (I woke up pain-free and aside from some swallowing problems that went away with time, no other secondary symptoms from the surgery).

I've since been able to observe cervical surgery several times, and even on several levels. I just want to tell you that I was impressed by the neatness and speed of the operations; all were practically bloodless and things weren't getting ripped out, tied in knots and placed on the patient's chest during surgery . The 'moving around' you speak of is more like gentle retraction of your esophagus and trachea and surrounding muscles, and while nerves have to be avoided, a skilled surgeon ought to be able to do this without damaging them. The spinal cord is in fact behind the space being cleaned out and worked on, and relatively protected (in the hands of an experienced surgeon, not your little brother and his tool kit!)

There are always risks and you have to be informed about them, and unfortunately accidents can of course happen. But I follow Mobi-C (cervical Artificial Disc Replacement) patients in a clinical study and not one has had cord injury during the operation, or any other lasting damage from the intervention itself, beyond some swallowing difficulty and in some cases a hoarse voice for a few days (lasting voice changes CAN be a risk, but again this is relatively rare). I posted a topic last year on observing cervical ADR surgery, as it was a real relief for me to see that it wasn't as gnarly a procedure as I'd imagined. Posting the link here as the surgical technique for ACDF is very similar:

http://adrsupport.org/eve/forums/a/t...3311084391/p/1

I hope it reassures you somewhat. It's not meant to be taken from a technical standpoint as much as a human one. Further on in the thread is a link to a video animation on an ADR procedure in case you're interested (hope it still works; that thread is over a year old)

For the rest, you definitely need to know as much as you can about your case before you decide. Which level(s) precisely, and why the doc wants to fuse rather than ADR for example. I'd then take the time to get at least a second opinion, and if possible more before surgery. ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion) will block the operated level. This is what I have, and while I do not feel any difference in mobility I suspect it led to the acceleration of a slight discopathy in the level above, which will now one day require surgery (and there I'm looking at ADR to conserve motion if possible).

So you see, you've really got to know what's going on in your neck and ask each surgeon you consult why he or she recommends the treatment or technique proposed, because notably in the case of ADR vs Fusion, not all surgeons agree on which to do, or when. The more you know about each, and about your own case, the better you'll be able to dialogue with your doc on which option--if it's down to those two--you feel is the best for you.

Trace
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  #9  
Old 08-28-2007, 06:53 AM
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Terry Terry is offline
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John:

Trace makes several good points about the skills of a good surgeon and how life and lifestyle changing this can be (for the good ).

I understand your fears and they are normal. You'll look worse in a wheelchair though if you don't do something about the problem. Hate to add to your fears but it sounds like you need to do something very shortly. It's always best to imagine life without doing the procedure.

I've had two cervical and one lumbar operation. My first cervical was a rear approach for a hemi-laminectomy. The second was a frontal approach. Other than some swelling in the throat, making it difficult to swallow, there were no complications and my recovery has been good.

Many have been there before you and we will support you through the process. You are not alone.

Hang in there.

Terry Newton
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1980 ruptured L4-L5
1988 ruptured SI-L5
1990 ruptured C5-C6
1994 ruptured C6-C7
1995 Hemi-Laminectomy C5-C6, C6-C7 Mayo Clinic
Bicycle Accident 2004
MRI, EMG, Facet Injections, Epidural Blocks, Lumbar Discogram.
Stenum Hospital Surgery November 4, 2006
Prestige Disc C5-C6, C6-C7
Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5
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  #10  
Old 09-09-2007, 11:47 AM
John John is offline
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O.K. went back to see the doctor he said i have problems at c-3 c-4, c-5 c-6 and c-6 c-7. He said my immediate problem is c-5 c-6 this is the level crushing my spinal cord,he said to go wherever i want and he would do all he could to help me but said whatever i do it should be done ASAP.So I need a doctor for a secomd opinion and A good spine surgeon who is on my insurance- Cigna - I am located on the Florida Panhandle. Does anyone Know of a good surgeon they might reccomend and a good hospital to have the surgery done.Would I be a candidate for ADR rether than fusion to other problem levels. I seem to be getting worse fast and having issues walking. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Bless all of you!
JOHN
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