I have had a C 5-6 fusion secondary to spinal stenosis followed three years later with a fusion at C 4-5 due to spinal stenosis. I now have a central herniation at C 3-4 resulting in spinal stenosis with myelopathy. Surgeon is suggesting CDR vs. ACF. What is your suggestion?
Unfortunately it is not unusual to experience degeneration of adjacent discs following a fusion procedure (or two!) Once the lower levels are fused, all the stress and strain of carrying your head is diverted to the upper levels and the risk of herniation is greater as time progresses. I am sorry it was such a short time following your fusion to have additional problems.
Option 1: You are now fused C4-C6 with a herniation at C3-C4. Fusion at this level would put more strain on the C2-C3 disc and may cause deterioration of that disc. Fusion is the complete removal of the disc, so it no longer comes into play regarding pain etc.
Option 2: A cervical disc replacement (artificial disc) is not a fusion and is done with the intent to preserve movement to that level and hopefully reduce the risk of deterioration to adjacent discs. The difficulty with disc replacement is that it is only approved for one level at this time and the long-term results are not yet documented. Insurance may or may not cover the surgery depending on your doctor's documentation and plan of care.
Basically, you can hope for no further damage to your spine following another fusion or opt for disc replacement and hope that it will offset the problem.
Good luck ----
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