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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index


no foraminotomy done, not even sure what that is...

In my case- I had two herniated discs at C5-6 and C6-7 that were primarily causing INCREDIBLE pain in my RIGHT arm anytime I'd sit, stand or drive for too long. I also have bone spurs, but after a DISCOGRAM, the doctors felt it was the herniations and not the spurs that were causing my pain.

No significant numbness or tingling, just the throbbing pain primarily from my shoulder down to my elbow.

I had received relief via traction, chiro adjustments and massage therapy for almost two years. But eventually the herniations got to the point where nothing short of surgery was working.

I am 39 years old- not a young pup, but I hopefully have 30-40 years left to go- so I was reallllly apprehensive about fusion. Even after talking to several people who have found success with it. I just feel if there's any option where they don't have to actually REMOVE something, then it's worth trying, and doesn't eliminate FUTURE options...

In my case the ACD w/out fusion went like this- in my layman's terms. They went in through the right side of my neck and removed the NUCLEUS of the problem discs. They then lasered the herniations/tears shut. After that, they injected a platelet gel into the disc where the nucleus had been. The gel was used to basically PUMP the disc back up.

So they DID NOT remove the actual discs.

One of the negatives of this procedure is that they can't also remove the bone spurs. But again, the dr's felt they were not the cause of my pain. Time will tell I guess.

There too is a risk that the disc(s) could collapse, which could possibly then leave fusion as your only resort. I had a VERY SLIGHT COLLAPSE at C6-7 six weeks post op. The doctors explained it as basically like a tire that has some of the air let out of it. it still works, but it's not as strong as it once was. everyone as they age has some variance of collapse...they said further as long as the arm pain didn't return- which it hasn't- that it was nothing to worry about.

As for WHERE I had the procedure done and WHICH DR- Dr. Merrill Reuter, Advanced Orthopaedics of South Florida in Lakeland, Florida.

I live in TN, and I came across him, I believe, in another person's posting on this message board.

They charge $200 to review your MRI films etc, before determining if you may be a candidate for their procedure.

I want to emphasize that I'm STILL NOT 100% out of the woods, that I still get a little sore, and that I still get paranoid that it didn't work. But the people at Dr. Reuter's office have all said that's normal for another month or so...and further, they have been AWESOME in holding my hand through the entire process, and have been very accessible via email and phone contact.

For now- I feel a whollllllle lot better than I did before surgery. He was one of the few dr's in the country that I found that performed minimally invasive stuff AND was in network with my insurance. So it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. Plus it was a cheap flight on Southwest, and I had family in the area so I had a free place to stay.

For me it was totally worth it. If nothing else, it has given me substantial relief in the short term, and has bought me time until further advancements become the norm...

Oh- I was in a SEMI HARD neck brace for 3 weeks- I basically could only take it off to sleep. Cheated after the first week and took it off in the shower. I wasn't allowed to drive for 3 weeks. Then I switched over to a soft collar for another 3 weeks, and I was allowed to drive as long as I wore the collar. Now, no collar, no restrictions on driving or anything else- aside from using my judgement and taking it easy on doing any lifting...

Good luck in finding a solution...


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