I have been diagnosed with severe cervical stenosis between C5/6 and moderate on C4/5. The orthopedic doctor said I needed surgery as soon as possible. I am NOT in severe pain. For the most part, the only time I feel a lot of pain is when I bend my head down. When I look down, I have shooting pains up and down my entire back and in my right arm and hand. At time, my right hand feels numb, but it is not all the time. I'm afraid of surgery. My doctors has warned me not to wait too long because I would loose all feeling in my arm.
(1) Considering I'm not in a great deal of pain, would it be a bad decision to wait until I'm in a lot of pain before I agree to surgery?
(2) If I decide to wait, what are some key factors that I need to watch out for, that will definitely tell me that I need to have surgery before permanent damage is done? Of course, if my arm goes numb, I know it is time for surgery.
(3) Currently my doctor is an arthopedic doctor. Do I need to find a neurosurgeon to perform the surgery?
You might get a second opinion from a neurosurgeon, but he will probably tell you the same thing. You are taking a big risk with losing all nerve sensation in your arm. It can be permanent damage. You won't feel a lot of pain with the nerves blocked. I had single level C5-6 disectomy and fusion on June 4th, and have recovered nicely. Altho I still have residual numbness in my fingers. It can take up to a year (or never) for it to heal. You didn't say how old you are. It is a simple surgery, and the benefits far outweigh the dangers of waiting. Good luck.
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