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At what point do I go ahead with a discectomy/fusion instead of physica...
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At what point do I go ahead with a discectomy/fusion instead of physical therapy

My neuro recommended that I move forward with a discectomy on my c-6, c-7 due to a bulging disc. As a result of this disc I am in pretty constant discomfort. A symptom that has been determined as llhermitte Phenomenon, or the barber chair syndrome? He says the main concern in this situation is the fact that my spinal cord is at risk. It is already presenting with some adema because of the disc, but he said that if I am in a car accident or any jarring activity that manipulates my neck I could end up paralyzed. I am also losing strength in my right arm alonside all of the numbness and burny tingly pain? His concern here is that the root nerve will die and the tingling will never improve if we wait, even though there is no guarantee that it isn't already permanent.  I am really interested in feedback. I am terrified to go under the knife after having a gallbladder removal gone horribly wrong in 2011.Thanks everyone
Avatar_m_tn
Usually the criteria is intractable pain resulting in the inability to function or risk of permanent neurological damage.

Coincidentally my 1st ACDF was @ C6/7, I had horrible neck, upper back, shoulder and hand pain. Fortunately, the spinal cord involvement was minimal. I had it done because of the pain, I could not function and no amount of drugs got it to the bearable point. I was also lead to believe that I would be good as new, and stupid me believed it.

I ended up having to have another one, and things are still not quite right. I do have some permanent damage and what looks like is going to be permanent pain. As far as being in auto accidents or having bad falls, I think we're probably in the same boat, and I've had 2 neck surgeries. I've been told not to play football.

From your post it sounds like the Neurological aspect is your primary concern and that's valid. You should really get a 2nd opinion, most  reasonable Doctors don't mind if you do. After all this is a very important decision for you. And by the way I was really scared before I had my first neck surgery and I had had back surgery previously. There's just something about the neck, you know? Is this a discecomy and not a fusion, possibly endoscopically done?

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