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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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It says: Anterior diskectomy and interbody fusion is seen with metal plate and cortical screws at c5-c6. No abnormal signal intensities are seen in the spinal cord. Loss of signal is seen in the disks due to degeneration.
My question is wouldn't there also be loss of signal or no signal in the disks if i had severed nerves in the disks? Also would a severed nerve at the cervical nerve root level show up on an EMG? Estella
HI Estella. I will try to answer your question and hope you don't argue with me again. I'm just a person with problems like you who's had these same tests and had doctors who explain them to me.

Yes, a severed nerve would show up on an EMG. In fact, the area served by that nerve would instantly be paralyzed and numb. No feeling, no movement.

On the MRI...... no nerves come from the disk. The cervical nerves emerge from the vertebra on the sides and then go out to the body. The disk is in a separate area, forward of the main part of the vertebra. It is a cushion and plays no part in the nerves or spinal cord unless it ruptures(herniates) and the ruptured part pushes toward the nerves or cord. No signal in the area of the disk would not have anything to do with the nerve.

You should do some searching for sites that show pictures of what a vertebra looks like so you know the anatomy of the vertebra and disk. Once you understand what it looks like, it will make a lot more sense.

Thanks for answering the question Jenny. I am just confused as to why i have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel, radial tunnel, tennis elbow (lateral epincondylitis) and now cubital tunnel, all after this ACDF surgery. I I had a feeling as if my whole left arm was being stretched or pulled since a couple days after that surgery.
The one doctor i went to, mentioned that it could be thoracic outlet syndrome with a nerve entapment at my clavicle (brachial plexus) along with the entrapment at my wrist, and the other areas of my arm. That would make sense to me, with the symptoms i am having. When i mentioned this to my neurosergeon, he said no i dont have thoracic outlet syndrome that there would be other evidence , and i would have other symptoms. I see an orthopedic surgeon Friday, I am going to ask if he can order an MRI of my brachial plexus and see what he says. Does anyone know if an entrapment at the brachial plexus / clavicle shows up on an emg? estella
An EMG can test for the electrical speed of nerve signals anywhere the put it. When they put the part that gives the electrical signal on your fingertip and then the receiver that catches the signal above your wrist, they can send the signal and then see if it's fast enough(good nerve) or too slow(injured or compressed nerve) or not there at all(severed nerve).That was a test just for carpal tunnel that you had but they can do the entire arm. They can test you at different levels all the way to your spine so they could put the part that sends the signal on your fingertip and then the receiver on your spine and see if the nerve is good, bad or gone. Then they can go to different segments of your arm and find where the problem is....wrist, elbow, shoulder, collarbone wherever. It would be much better than an MRI which focuses on one area at a time. Do a full arm EMG first and then the MRI when they find the problem area.

But here is one possibility you may not have considered. You may just have some soft tissue swelling left in your fusion area that is pressing on the nerve and that is causing all of your problems. It took me a good 6 months to get rid of all that swelling and even then, some of it went up and down for a while. That along with the carpal tunnel syndrome they found would make you hurt from your fingertips to your spine and it would vary, depending on what was swollen and where and on what day. It would be very variable and possibly very painful and varying amounts of numbness. You may just need to wait for a while to see if the spine swelling goes down. My doc told me to wait at least 6 months when I complained about the pain from soft tissue swelling. He was right.

But as long as you getting all the testing anyhow, get the full arm EMG and then go looking for the problem with other studies like an MRI.

Thanks again JENNY,
The EMG test i had done did go in a few places up my arm, they did one at the wrist, one at my elbow area, one at the forearm, one at my bicep area, and then the back of my neck area for the cervical they did twice..I had the fine needles in all those areas, but they didnt do the collar bone or where the brachial plexus would be. The hand sergeon said i had lateral epincondylitis, the tennis elbow, but that was not detected on the EMG. He determined i had that from the physical tests he conducted on my arm in his office, and said cubital tunnel as well, and that didnt show on the test. It has been a little over 4 months since the operation. I hope it is post op swelling that will go away, that would be the best news. I am thinking about looking into accupuncture to see if that helps. Hopefully the orthopedic surg. on Friday will repeat the EMG or do an MRI of the brachial plexus to rule out entrapment there. ESTELLA

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