Hello, I was recently (30 days ago)(via an MRI) told that I have a Large herniated Disk in the C-5/C-6 area which is pushing paramidline on the nerve. I did it by exercising of all things. My symptoms are slight neck shoulder, and right arm pain with some minor weakness in the right arm. My discomfort is worse in the evening but is treatable with a small dose of pain med when needed. I have even noticed some improvement over the last week or so. I have had 1 neurosurgeon evaluation so far and he says that I need to have the Anterior Cervical Disk surgery asap to fix the problem and prevent further damage. I have a 2nd opinion in the morning. I am curious about the following:
1) Can I try a more conservative method instead of jumping into surgery? If so, what is reccommended? My family Dr. is backing the nerosurgeon and has no other options for me at this point.
2)Should I get opinions from other types of Dr.'s such as Orthopedic, or Osteopath, etc...?
2) Should I get the surgery if my 2nd opinion reccommends it as well? Or should I get a 3rd opinion? My 3rd opinion is in mid June. Is that too late to wait?
3) I am a career minded healthy 37 year old and am scared to have the surgery due to the risks involved. I'm worried about the surgery causing new problems and or not fixing the problem that I have. What are the success rates of this type of sugery?
4)Do you think I could find a surgeon who would go in Posterior? The front of the neck scares me because you have to pass by additional areas such as voice box, throat, ect...
5)If I had the surgery, what should I expect Post-Op?
6) How do you know that you have the best surgeon? What questions should I ask before surgery?
Thanks for your help,
I had a ACDF in Nov of last year. They fused C5 thru C7 due to herniated disk. Before surgery I was kind of like you, some pain in my right arm and neck. But I was able to control the pain with over the counter pain meds. Since surgery it has been a night mare. I now have pain in both arms, fingers on both hands are numb, and my neck and right shoulder burn like fire. The pain is so bad I've been on three different pain pills, I am now on Demeral. It has been over five months and I still haven't gone back to work. They are now telling me that I have a bulging disk at C3, so I may have to have surgery again. I wish a thousand times that I had never had the surgery. I am 44 and we waited late in life to have children, they are ages 4 and 6. I can hardly care for them since this surgery. Get several opinions before going thru with it. Good Luck.
Hello , here is the latest as of my 2nd opinion with a Neurosurgeon this morning: First of all, I liked this Surgeon much better than the first one because he took his time and wrote down all of my questions and answered them without rushing me. He first did a thorough physical check of my arms, neck, legs, and even my walk. (The first surgeon only checked my hand strength.) He then preceeded to review my MRI in great detail explaining each Cervical area. Luckily I only have one herniation and all the other disks look good. He recommended the Anterior Cervical Disk surgery. But he did agree that a Posterior approach without metal plate and fusion would also be an option for me as well. I like the Posterior approach because there would be no foreign bone/objects added to my spine with less risk to the throat, vocal cords, etc.... He also stated that some people can even heal on their own with no surgery.Now that's a thought.... Maybe I should wait a little while to see if my condition gets better or worse before jumping into surgery?? I had this injury for around 5-6 weeks so far. At this point, I have a 3rd opinion scheduled in June. I may resume walking for now but no running. What do you think?
Sorry to hear that you are in regret of the surgery. I have read that alot in the forums. That's exactly what I'm afraid of too. At this moment, I'm watching my symptoms to see if they get worse. It's strange... the weakness in my arms and fingers comes and goes. Like right now typing seems to be hard like my arms are heavy and my fingers are clutzy.
I have to go with the reverse of bev62 and tell you what I did. I did everything to avoid surgery from a messed up disc and arm pain from a pressed on nerve and wish I hadn't. Do not let anyone tell you that they can go in from the back because they can't. It is incredibly difficult to get to any of those areas from the back. I had a Dr. try and it was a waste of 5 weeks off work with horrible pain and all he did was stir up the nerve trying to get a bone spur off of it. I had him do that in order to avoid removing the disc and doing a fusion. Then I saw another Dr who was brash and said it couldn't be fixed without a fusion so I had two discs removed (both were not good but one was worse than the other) and a fusion done - on 2 levels yet and he told me the fusion was a success at my 90 day followup but I still had pain so he said to see my pain mgmt doc. It took me a year and a half to find out the the fusion failed and that he had left disc material in the area that was still causing me pain. Be careful! They aren't all good doctors - He's in Dallas and his initials are RD. I finally saw 2 other neurosurgeons and one orthopedic before I found one that could fix this that is in network with my insurance that I would trust after the 1st one messed me up. The orthopedic I saw said he'd have to do it in 2 surgeries! I've now just had my 3rd surgery, (2nd fusion) and I pray to God this works or I will find a very high bridge. I can't go thru another surgery. I wish I'd had the surgery done the first time it was suggested as I've gone thru much more trying to get it fixed without the disc removal and fusion surgery and ended up doing that anyway. It's cost me more time off work and more money going thru three than if I had just done the one to begin with. I say find a neurosurgeon you are comfortable with, this is a very SPECIALIZED microsurgery - do not use an orthopedic - and get it done and over with - get a 2nd and 3rd opinion if you like but don't be so happy to avoid surgery that you let someone tell you they can fix it from the back like I did. Too many have told me since that it CANNOT be fixed from the back and my trying only caused me pain and time off work. I wish you good luck!! Will you let us know how you are doing?
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