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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi Methos,

I had a similar problem, 4 ruptured disks, C3-7. I had problems with my arms and shoulders. The pain in both arms and shoulders were not too bad. I had some numbness and itching feelings on both pinky fingers and the area close to them. I also had some twitching on both pinky fingers and both arms and shoulders. I did not have apparent weakness, but my right arm triceps were visibly smaller than my left, even though I am right handed. For a detailed chronological list of my symptoms, find my post titled “One month post operation report - Long” on page 2 at the time of this posting.

I had a 3 level ACDF onC4-7 on 3/27/03. My surgeon was a little puzzled as to how many levels to do since my problem was so extensive. He consulted other doctors and decided to do 3 levels, as no one had done 4 level operation at his department. He suggested that he would do a posterior surgery for C3-C4 level, after I heal. My worst levels were C5-C6 and C6-C7.

I thought about the surgery long and hard. It was a difficult decision because my pain was not as bad as some of fellow sufferers here. But the fear that I may be paralyzed in case of a car accident was the determining factor. Also, I wanted to go back to my regular activities even if they would be curtailed somewhat. Before the surgery, I had stopped all risky physical activities and I was very bored. I asked my surgeon if he would have the surgery if he was in my shoes, and he said he would. I should take his answer with a grain of salt, I think, since he must have been asked this question many times before and he may have developed an automatic response. One additional factor that helped me decide was that the pain I experienced seemed increase over time.

I do not yet know if I made the right decision. I am about 6 weeks post surgery now. My right shoulder/arm/ pinky symptoms seem to have diminished drastically. My left shoulder/arm/pinky symptoms started to show up more frequently but the pain seems to be less. I still get occasional twitching on both sides. I have new pain in the base of my neck. It shows up towards the afternoon of an active day, or after about 50 minutes of fast walking. Also, I have another pain on the side of my neck, extending behind my left ear, but maybe this one is due to the strain I put on my neck trying to keep it immobile. I am wearing a soft collar all the time.

I am sorry that I cannot answer all your questions about loss of range of motion, etc. yet as it is too soon for me. I can tell you though the recovery seems a little tougher than I had expected. I had read the postings on this board before the surgery and had the impression at the time that the recovery would be smoother. It surprised me when I would feel better and better for a few days and then not so good for the following few days. Maybe it is just that I am getting a little impatient with the speed of my recovery. It is possible that in a few months time I will look back and think that it was not so bad after all. I am planning on reporting the progress of my recovery periodically.

I noticed you are from the bay area as well. My experience at Stanford Hospital was good, though I do not have any other experience with other hospitals to compare.

Good luck with your decision

ADCF C4-7 with titanium plate, using donor bone

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