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Im a 39 year old male. I have suddenly started having pain in left arm, neck numb left thumb. MRI results showed c5 buldging disc (which doctor says isnt real problem) and c6 bone spur. (causing most of issues) Says he cant remove spur without removing disc since spur is to close to spinal cord. Want to remove both disc's and replace with bone and plate (Fusion) Dont like that word at all.

I cant believe this is happening. I played 50 rounds of golf this year and never noticed it. I have read all the message boards and seems this is a tough surgery with many risks. Doctor says I could even lose my voice, and have trouble swallowing.

Is there any other options? Is this surgery inevitable. Im in sales and have to work. Cant imagine not having a voice that works right. This is like a bad dream. How long will I be out of commission??? Im scared!!!

Will I ever play Golf again????

I had the same thing, 5-6 herniation with bone spur. I was lucky enough to get into the artificial disk replacement study and had surgery in March, so mine dosn't have the plate with fusion. It is very very scary. Some on this board seem to have a real tough time. I was very lucky. I didn't have to wear a collar. I have some pain now and then but I am a lot better, but will never be the same.

I thought my throat would be sore and I couldn't eat and I would lose weight, but I was up eating a full (soft) meal that evening.
I went back to work within 3 weeks but if you get the fusion and have to wear the collar, it will take a lot longer so the bones can fuse. Maybe even three months.
Be sure to chose a good neurosurgeon. My surgery was only 58 minutes and he said that makes a difference with the throat soreness. They don't hold your esphogus over as long. My neurosurgeon specializes in the cervical, he does about 300 a year, and I am so lucky to have found him.

There is a lot of information on the internet. Go to google to research the Bryan artificial disk and other options.
Good luck, I know it is very scary.
My brother had a two level fusion about 4 years ago and he still has pain. He was an accident though and very very bad.
Thanks Rolex. I have read that the Disc replacement is still not proven, sounds like your doing well! Is that study still going on??? Seams with modern medcine, there should be something better than fusing ones spine.
Hi Thomas!

I've had two of these surgeries and I speak just fine. I think it may have only affected me when I sing. :-) I never sang well anyway. Otherwise, I think I have done pretty well, learning to negotiate. Your body tells you when you've done too much. The best thing you can do is have full trust in your surgeon. If you have a question in your mind, find another one. The other thing you should do is NOT push yourself after the surgery.

Remember, also, that the surgeons have to tell you about all the possible complications, no matter how rare. You will see a large variety of people here all with different outcomes.

I know a man that had a fusion in 1996 and he does play golf. He says he plays better now than he did before the fusion. He was elated.
ROLEX - is there any way you can email me the name of your doctor that did the artificial disk replacement surgery for your neck? I may have to undergo the knife if my pain/numbness doesn't lessen (it's been 6 months).


[ [b] please carefully review the posting rules - no emails [/b] ]

[ [b]members are always allowed to post doctors by name, city and state - but no contact information[/b] ]

You mentioned you had "two of these surgeries". Was that (2) Artificail discs? Are you happy witht the results of your artificial disc surgery? What where your initial problems?

Like everyone else here, I'm looking for answers with cervical spine issues. C4/C5 spurs moderate, C6 bulge (right side). Also am 2 years post ACDF, C6/C7. I'm hoping for the artificail disc to be approved for a potential C6 replacement.

Thanks in advance.

[QUOTE=ZANMEISTER]ROLEX - is there any way you can email me the name of your doctor that did the artificial disk replacement surgery for your neck? I may have to undergo the knife if my pain/numbness doesn't lessen (it's been 6 months).


[ [b] please carefully review the posting rules - no emails [/b] ]

[ [b]members are always allowed to post doctors by name, city and state - but no contact information[/b] ][/QUOTE]

My Dr. is Dr. Lynch @ Spine Nev. in Reno. However, you have to be selected for the disc. It is a study and you have a 50/50 chance of being selected..

Good luck to you,,,,
I had a one level fusion with my hip bone on Jan. 6. I did have trouble talking for the first couple of days but I believe that was due to the intubation tube. Swallowing was more of an issue. I pretty much could only eat soft foods for about 3 weeks. I am now almost 6 weeks post op and can eat pretty much anything I want. I just make sure I have water with all my meals. The surgery was much easier than I anticipated--I was pretty freaked out ahead of time. I would try not to worry too much. Good Luck!
Dr. Hae Dong Jho a the Jho Institute for Minimally INvasive Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA should be able to take care of your problems without a fusion. He operated on me two weeks ago at C5-6 and I am very happy so far. See my thread, My Journey to Cervical Spine Surgery. One drawback is that he is in such demand due to his innovative procedures that there can be a long wait for a surgical date. I waited about 6 months, although he was out of the country for one of those months.
I guess it depends on the problem of what to do. Even with artificial disk replacement don't they have to take out the old one? THen it seems that it is similar only the material used to hold the space open is different. Aren't the technicalities of the procedures the same? Don't they have to make an incision in the neck, front or back? Don't they have to move things to get to the disk and clean out the spur? If they still have to do all these things then is the only variable the possibility of the fusion not taking? Is it guaranteed that the artificial disk works? HOw does it stay in place? Sorry for all the questions but I am really curious myself. When I talked to the surgeon about minimally invasive surgeries he told me these work really well for people that only have disk problems.

I in particular had a two level acdf with donor bone and plating. I had this surgery because I have congenital spinal stenosis, had a disc bulge, a herniation and a a small fragment floating all causing spondy. Osteophytes all over (bone spurs) which had to be cleaned out. There might be a second surgery in my future at another level which we didn't do because it looked like it could stay and I wasn't excited about doing two much less a three level. So I will be reading everyones answers here for future reference.

Hi to all

I also had an ACDF on Nov. 28/2003 and unfortunately before I even got a chance to feel better I had a car accident. A woman pulled right out in front of me and I had no where to go and we collided. My neuro. saw me the night of my accident (had C5-6 C6/7fused in Nov. with titanium pins and plates) and said that the pins and plates were in place and then the ortho doc. checked me and said I had whiplash on the right side. Well 14 months later I am in hell, I suffer with neck, shoulder and head pain every day and I have myolopathy in my left arm - pain and tingling that runs down into my fingers. I went to see the neuro. 4 months after my surgery and accident and he took x-rays and said everything looked good and said he couldn't help me that he was afraid that I have "fibromyalgia"!!! Well that wasn't good enough for me, I have had every kind of therapy, injections, pain meds. etc. etc. and went back to the surgeon 14 months later begging for help. This time he sent me for a cervical myelogram and it showed that C6/7 never fused!!!!! He also stated at the appt. before when he sent me for the myelogram that with an x-ray he took that day that C4 & 5 were degenerating. He then offered me surgery and said he wanted to take out my existing hardware and put in a longer plate that would include C5, now after looking at my myelogram he says that he wants to take out my hardware and put in a metal cage in just C6/7 and use a bone from my hip (I have donor bones in there now). I am so confused. He offered me 2 different surgeries in 2 days!!!! I have an appt. with him this Thursday for a consultation for surgery and I am so skeptical. He says that probably the car accident caused my condition because at 6 weeks your fusion is like gel!!! Why then do they let you drive at 2 weeks!!!! It is mind boggling trying to figure out what to do. I also have an appt. on Friday with an Orthopaedic surgeon that apparently replaces discs. so I am taking all my xrays and info to him for a second opinion but I don't want my neuro. to find out because if I decide to go to him for the operation, I obviously want the best possible care. Do you think I am doing the right thing by going to another doctor??? If anyone has some advice for me, I would really appreciate it. The new is in Michigan and his name is "Harry Herkowitz", has anyone heard of him?

Thanks for listening.
Take care everyone!!!!

Lyn in Michigan :angel:
Geez Lyn - I feel for ya. That's the kinda of luck that I have. I would get a new doctor and not an orthopedic one. Just my opinion but with your neck the way it is you can't afford any more mistakes. Get a good neurosurgeon. I'd also recommend getting a good medical lawyer regarding the accident and doctor you've been seeing. Unless you have unlimited funds, you'll need a way to pay for all these other people's mistakes. Good luck! Hope you find a good doctor.

They let you drive soon, because people want to get back to a normal life. I'm sure you understand that. My doc said that an accident would be a real problem, but that's the risk we assume if we drive (or even ride in a car for that matter). It's unfortunate that this happened to you.

Will I need a good lawyer for the Neurosurgeon or the Car Accident!!!! I have actually talked to a lawyer about the car accident and they don't seem to think I have a case because I had a "pre-existing" condition!!! I had bone spurs, arthritis, spondylosis and degeneration on C5,6 and 7. Yes I did have a condition before but how does the insurance company think I feel with just having surgery and getting whiplash!!!! My neurosurgeon said that someone that has a normal neck after getting whiplash can have problems for the rest of their lives!!!! My doctor wrote me out prescriptions for massage therapy due to a motor vehicle accident and I had trigger point massage therapy and sacral cranial therapy and St. Johns neuromuscular therapy. The woman that was in charge of my case for my insurance company seemed to think that I was trying to get "free massages" because to quote her "everyone likes massages, they feel good"!!!!! I didn't even fill the last prescription because the massages hurt like hell!!!! Now to be accused of something so petty is very discouraging. I wouldn't even wish the woman at the insurance company all of this pain!!!! The doctor says that the accident probably caused my fusion not to take but he also should have known that when I went to him 4 months after, not 14 months after.
Anyway I am venting again, sorry.
Thanks for your reply.

Lyn in Michigan :angel:
I think you need a lawyer to address BOTH the accident and the doctor. You had received your doctors ok to drive - thus it either isn't a pre-existing condition OR the doctor should be responsible for giving this ok. Like your neurosurgeon said - since you could have life time issues with whiplash indicates that that there isn't "proof" that they recreated or made your previous issue worse. Unless of course you can get your doctor to put it in writing - that the accident either caused or was the probable cause for the lack of fusion.

If you hear NO - keep looking for better lawyers and doctors. It once took me 2-3 years to find a doctor to tell me I had a low grade sinus infection (which was the root of many other issues). I was like you - at my wits end - ready to physically collapse from the stress of always being ill. I truly believe there are only a handful of good doctors out there and if you find one - keep them.

Sorry about your experiences with the insurance companies - I don't have ANYTHING positive to say about health insurance companies! It's all about numbers to them and most of the time the person on the other end of the phone making the decision on your treatment is someone without any medical experience.

Keep trying to find a good doctor and lawyer - even if it means looking outside of your city. You can always go to places like the Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic to get another opinion on your neck.

good luck
Ouch Lynn that is a story. Get good help it sounds like the others have said and take care.

Thanks for your advice on the lawyers!!!!
I want to ask you a question about your "low grade sinus infection"!!!! For 5 years along with these neck issues, I have had a terrible headache. It goes from the back of my neck to the back of my head and over my head into my forehead, the front of my ears, at the bridge of my nose really bad and even into my jaw a bit. I have been tested for TMJ and they say I don't have that. It really feels like a "sinus headache". I have been to an ears, nose and throat specialist and they put a tube in my nose and said that everything looked fine. I have had a cat scan of my sinuses and it showed that my sinuses were normal!!! I really feel like it is my sinuses and they can't find anything. They don't know if my headache is coming from my neck pain or where it is coming from. Their only answer on my headache has been the same old crap, take Prozac or go and see a psychiatrist. Nothing helps my headache and they thought the surgery might make it go away but I still have it. When you said that you had a low grade sinus infection did you have pain elsewhere (if I might ask)!!!

Thanks again for your advice.
Lyn in Michigan :)
Have you guys ever heard about someone sueing their Nero?

Thanks for the info on the lawyers. I don't know what to do yet. I am not very good at fighting but this is my life. I am going to get a second opinion before I decide on which surgery since my neuro offered me 2 different surgeries in two days!!! :confused:
I noticed that you said something about finding out that you had a low grade sinus infection after years of persuing it. I have neck, shoulder and arm pain but along with it for 5 years I have had a headache that goes from the back of my head (occipital) right around the front on my forehead, behind my eyes, really aches at the bridge of my nose, in front of my ears and even in my jaw. I have gone to a face specialist to see if I had TMJ and they said I didn't. I always think it is my sinuses and have had a Cat Scan and they said my sinuses were normal and have gone to an ENT specialist and had the tube put in my nose and said they didn't see anything but I am sure that my sinuses are causing some of my headache pain, if not all of it. The doctors think it is linked to my neck pain but I don't agree. If they can't find anything then I can't do anything about it. If you don't mind me asking did your sinus problems give you bad headaches all the time. I am not sure if I am dealing with two seperate issues or one!!!! I just know my headache never goes away and when I had my first fusion it did not take it away. The chiropractor was sure he knock my headache away but to no avail.
What kind of other problems did you have with a low grade sinus infection?

Thanks for your support
Lyn in Michigan :angel:

Last night I sent you a post about your sinuses and my sinuses and there was a problem with computer and I didn't think it went through. I just checked again now and it did make it's way through so you have two posts from me about the same thing. sorry!!!

Lyn in Michigan :)
My Dr. is Dr. Lynch @ Spine Nev. in Reno. However, you have to be selected for the disc. It is a study and you have a 50/50 chance of being selected..

Good luck to you,,,,[/QUOTE]

I went yesterday for my 1 year follow-up. Dr. Lynch said the study is almost complete and will be submitted to the FDA soon for approval.. He also informed me that anyone with a one level problem can now get the disk if they choose even though it hasn't been approved yet.
He has 3 Fellowships which is very rare - He is a great Dr.

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