I am in the medical field, so I understand some but not all of the things involved with a fusion. I had C-5 and 6 fused 6 years ago....a chronic pain patient with a 22 year history after an injury teaching aerobics..that never ended! My first fusion was in 2002...I never felt any relief from it and actually have felt weaker and more pain since the fusion. I went into see a neurosurgeon as C-6/7 disc is bulging into the subarachnoid space..causing numbness to my Left arm...I was originally hoping that my plate was loose or something and i could have it removed...instead my only option was another fusion! I asked for an epidural and he said the bulging of the disc did not leave sufficient space to safely give an epidural.....I realize that fusions cause more stress on the discs below and above and this is probably the reason for the new bulging disc...I do not want another fusion...not unless i cant work anymore...i had heard there was a procedure called a percutaneous discectomy where they can shave off the part of the disc that is bulging? I am afraid of having one fusion after the other and do not want to start this cycle..i am afraid
I understand your reluctance to have another fusion due which will limit your neck mobility as well as put additional stress on the spine below the fusion.
Personally I am holding out for artificial disc replacement because I am NOT interested in a 5 level fusion for DDD C4-7 with significant and symptomatic stenosis of the spinal canaly.
Unfortunately, even though at least one artificial cervical disc has been approved by the FDA, multi-level disc replacement is still experimental and in this area (Boston) the insurers are generally refusing to pay for even one level of cervical disc replacement though I believe they have caved and finally agreed to pay for lumbar disc replacement.
I totally understand the role the issue of being able to work plays in these decisions. I tried desperately to keep working after my MS diagnosis. I do not have any significant mobility problems but despite numerous other schedule accommodations I could not negotiate the 6-7 in-hospital night calls out of my job and my MS fatigue (and the cognitive problems that accompanied it) would not permit me to continue with any reasonable degree of stable health for me or safety for my patients.
I stopped working last January but I miss it terribly...and not just the income!
Thanks..I am single..i am a nurse and i am 48..i need to work...i am just not sure another fusion is the answer..did u get relief with each fusion or did u find it just caused another fusion down the road?
I'm sorry but I must not have been clear. I have not had any spine surgery because I am reluctant to have such an extensive fusion because of the potential complications. Fortunately so far I can get enough pain relief to function. I did not stop work because of my pain though I definitely have less pain since I stopped working.
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