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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

I've posted a few times but now I have seen a few doctors and have reached a dilemma many seem to face here, whether to have surgery or wait.

Readers Digest version:

MRI report: C5-C6 diffuse bulge/posterior spondylosis complex resulting in complete effacement of ventral thecal sac with moderate AP canal stenosis. Bilateral moderate narrowing of neural forimina, mild facet joint hypertrophy noted.

C6-C7 severe spinal canal stenosis and flattening of cord from combination of posterior disc herniation/osteophyte complex. Severe right lateral recess and neural narrowing from underlying unconvertebral hypertrophic change and lateral disk herniation and moderate left neural foraminal narrowing.

My symptoms are annoying but livable. The first several weeks I had lots of neck/shoulder aching and was doing heat and advil throughout the day...that is pretty much gone, feels much improved. However I have had a numb right hand (first finger primarily, some thumb and middle) since late March - constant - with occasional bouts of tingling down right arm and stabbing pains at finger tips. I do "sense", at times, weakness or "heaviness" in my left forearm and VERY subtle symptoms in my legs, almost not noticeable, just something feels "different".

I have seen 2 neurosurgeons and an ortho (who partners with neurosurgeon #1). The neuros both said "it could wait", but, that there were obvious risks, as in a hit from behind in a car (paralysis instead of whiplash)....I guess they all say this, and not saying they shouldn't. The orthopedic surgeon actually was the one who seemed to think an immediate (not an emergency, but soon) surgery was called for, he thought he saw very mild spinal cord damage on the MRI and did some test on my right foot and caught something there, forget what he called it. Hoffman test, reflexes were normal. Long story here but the original consensus was to do one level (C6-C7) with a conservative "wait and see" approach to C5-C6. The ortho thought both should be done (actually thought some of my symptoms could be from C5-C6 and not necessarily C6-C7) and I have to say, if I'm going to do this at all, why not do both?

I'm in almost no pain, but I don't want to incur permanent spinal cord damage by waiting, and I guess part of the reason for surgery is to simply prevent further damage. I've read the horror stories of people having ACDF's only to still have issues a year later (or more), hardware problems, new problems, etc etc.

I'm very healthy and active otherwise. The "surgery itself" doesn't scare me as much as the possibility I could make things worse.

Very confused as to what the right thing to do is.......

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