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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Over the past year I have had 2 lumbar surgeries at L5/S1 and a 2-level anterior surgical fusion at C4 thru C6, all with various stenosis issues, osteophytes, etc. My first lumbar surgery was performed on an emergency basis since my left leg collapsed from under me and I was admitted to the hospital the very same day with surgery the next. I was told that I was about a week away from losing use of my leg-as it is I've been left with permanent nerve damage because it wasn't caught soon enough but that is another story. My cervical surgery needed to be done because I had severe spinal cord compression in 4 levels, was experiencing numbness and tingling in both hands, pain in shoulders, arms and neck with headaches every day for about three weeks. Every one of my doctors who viewed my MRI results told me that I needed surgery-and quickly, and that no amount of PT, medications, epidural shots or wishing it away was going to fix it. My point is that sometimes surgery is necessary and it is up to you to find the best neurosurgeon you can find. I happen to have one that I trust implicitly and know that he would never perform a surgery that involved someone's spinal cord unless it was absolutely necessary. Before the first lumbar surgery he said that the MRI I brought to him taken 2 weeks previously did not warrant him performing surgery but looking at me and my symptoms did. He told me that he would not even consider surgery until another MRI was performed and only if it showed significant changes in my condition from the previous MRI. That is why he put me in the hospital, had another MRI taken and then compared the two and made his recommendation-the second MRI showed that my condition had changed drastically and that my disc was so large at L5 it was wrapping around my S1 nerve and flattening it completely-it was strangling the nerve. Surgery was not only warranted but necessary. Surgeons do not always want to cut-a good surgeon will be up front with you and not perform a surgical procedure unless absolutely necessary-that is the mark of an excellent doctor and I am lucky to have one. Good luck to you!

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