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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

kitti - thanks. I did end up getting in to see a second opinion - they want to do ACDF C3-C4 and C4-C5 - she doesn't want to do the C5-C6 level because of my age. I am finding it all very overwhelming to think about having neck surgery as I have a young child, can't get a job until I have recovered, and I guess just because it is a scary thing. I guess I am more afraid of having an accident and becoming paralyzed though - I am an avid equestrian and have been given a strict no riding from the neurosurgeon until after surgery, at which point she feels I will be ok to get back on.

Anyway, I guess I am just getting frustrated that after 2 neuro consults my GP is still acting like this is no big deal even tough they now say I need surgery =/
Wanted to post an update since I now have 4 opinions and am really more on the fence about surgery than ever.

So the first neurologist said my symptoms were certainly from my neck and that I definitely need surgery soon and that with the bruise on my spinal cord if I were to sustain a whiplash injury now I would likely be completely paralyzed - he also said that the discs in my neck in combination with the congenital stenosis is actively da,aging my spinal cord and if I don't have surgery I could wake up and be partially or fully paralyzed at some point, just from living. He had previously done an EMG on both arms to check for carpal tunnel that were all normal. I am not sure what the results of his neuro exam were, as they were done before the stenosis thing was even a blip on my radar, and I still believed that my parasthesias were caused by carpal tunnel, but I know he didn't do any hoffman's tests or Romberg test - I can't even remember if he did the normal strength/reflex tests.

The first neurosurgeon said that she wanted to surgery sooner rather than later - they found left tricep weakness, left positive hoffmans, 3+ reflexes in arms and legs, very positive Romberg test. She gave me a window of "a few" months to have surgery, and said it wasn't an emergency but should be done. Nor horseback riding until after surgery. She offered me a 2 level ACDF for C3-C4 and C4-C5.

The Orthopedic spine surgeon said I needed surgery at some point and that there wasn't any point in putting it off, though it wasn't an emergency. He did not do a neurological test as he is the one who sent me to the first neurologist. He offered me a laminectomy from C3-C6.

Third Neurosurgeon (and the one who my GP apparently trusts the most) had a PA come in to do my neuro exam - she found nothing abnormal except brisk reflexes in both legs and my right elbow. She did not do a Romberg test. I noticed a couple of times that my strength seemed remarkably different from my left to my right, she did not seem to. The Neurosurgeon himself said that he felt that I was a surgical candidate. However, he also said that what I needed to do was to pick a disability level that I was not comfortable with keeping forever and then have surgery before that time, otherwise it was up to me when to have it. He said it's possible, though unlikely, that my symptoms won't get any worse. He said that either the ACDF (which he also suggested a 2 level saying that it would likely be anther 10-15 years before I needed another surgery for C5-C6 and they might have something better to offer me then) or the laminoplasty/laminectomy solution would be fine, though he would lean 55/45 in favor of the ACDF despite my congenital stenosis because I have loss of loridosis as well, but that I would probably have to get other docs involved if I had ACDF as I have severe vit D deficiency that is not responding to oral treatment which might make me more likely to have failure to fuse. He also said they would do a 2 level artificial disc and that they could try to get insurance to pay for it, but that we would have quite a fight to make it happen, if they would go for it at all. He also said he felt the risk of paralysis from injury was small and to keep riding my horse because it makes me happy.

So, after this last doctor, I am left wondering if I need surgery at all, really, but also thought it was really strange that the PA didn't find any of the abnormalities that other docs have found. Before I saw the first neurologist, I was seeing a pain doc for my herniated lumbar disc - I had mentioned to her that the ortho spine doc thought it might be my neck and not carpal tunnel, she did a bunch of reflex testing and said I had a positive Hoffman's and brisk reflexes on my arms and legs (3+) I wonder if this made him more relaxed about the surgery option.

I just don't know what to do - anyone have any insights that might help me make this decision? I can't tell if I am in denial of the severity of the issue or overinflating it.

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