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Old 01-21-2013, 12:55 PM   #1
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fmgal HB User
Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

I've had degenerative disc disease for about 15 years. I had a 360 degree L-4, L5L5-S1 Spinal Fusion in January of 2002, with no relief. Actually, my pain became worse, and is now much worse. I also have severe degeneration at L-3, but no surgery there. Now my cervical spine is in bad shape. The thing that is scaring me really bad is the following: A medium-sized anteriorly bridging osteophite (which I know is a bone spur) spans the C5-C6 intervertical disc space. Then it says: C5-C6: Mild to moderate spinal stenosis from a mild broad-based posterior disc protrusion (midline thecal sac AP dimension of 7.5mm). There is also mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing from uncinate spurring. Note: C3-C4 has central protrusion mildly effacing the thecal sac. C4-C5 has mild central spinal stenosis broad posterior disc protrusion (midline thecal sac AP dimension of 9mm) and moderate right and left neural foraminal narrowing from uncinate spurring. C6-C7 has mild to moderate central spinal stenosis from mild central disc protrusion (midline thecal sac AP dimension of 7.5mm). Am I going to go paralized or lose my ability to breath and swallow if I don't have surgery. It says that the surgery is massively invasive. And what if it doesn't ease the pain? I'm scared to death. A surgery like this could paralyize me from the neck down. I can't put my family through something like that. I HAVE HAD NO REPLIES-THIS IS MY FIRST TIME USING THE HEALTH BOARDS-DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG? DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO POST MY THREAD TO A HEALTH BOARDS DOCTOR (WITHOUT USING THE ONE YOU HAVE TO PAY ON THE HOME PAGE)?

Last edited by fmgal; 01-22-2013 at 05:34 AM. Reason: no replies

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Hi survivor, There are no dr advisors or expert opinion on healthboards, except the ask a dr that requires a credit card. We are just people like you that share our knowledge, experiences, support, stories etc. I answered your post on back board & suggested that you look up a dermatome map & see what body functions,limbs etc are served by the cervical nerves at the level that you are concerned about. Paralysis is a risk factor of any spine surgery but i dont think that the levels that you posted concern about control breathing or swallowing, in my opinion. I would be afraid too of a large surgery on my neck & for some reason it "feels" different than lumbar surgery to me. With the pain that you suffer you are surely familiar with living day by day & facing or fighting whatever comes our way & i think that is the approach i would use if i were you. I pray that this all works out for you. God bless you , survivor & welcome to healthboards!

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Hi

First, stop the panic....you are not going to be paralyzed.

In the neck, as in the lumbar, you have 2 areas that can be affected....the spinal nerves that exit from the cord and go out to the body at each level(except C1-2) and the spinal cord itself. You have a lot of arthritis and bulging disk material and bone spurs on the tiny outside uncinate joints but the condition of the nerves/cord, is a concern but not permanent or about to paralyze you.

When the radiologists measure just how badly the spinal nerves are compressed, they use the terms Minimal. Mild, Moderate and Severe to rank the severity. At C3-4 you have Moderate nerve compression and at C5-6 you have Mild nerve compression. Although that hurts badly, it is not needing surgery...most docs won't touch you until you hit the Severe level. As for your cord compression....that is where they give the diameter in millimeters....you still have time to decide if you want surgery and who will do it...you have options. the normal cord is 11-12mms. but can stand be compressed down to 4-6mms. Symptoms of cord compression are different from those of nerve compression and affect things like muscle tone in the legs, balance issues, and reflexes anywhere below the level of compression. If you don't have any signs of cord compression, most docs will wait until you do.

And the newer surgeries are great. there is one that is done with no fusion that doubles the room in the spinal canal...called a laminoplasty...but you have to look for the really good docs who have trained in this new procedure to get it. A simple ACDF at 1 or 2 levels can be done from the front, removing the bad disk and fusing the vertebrae affected together so the pain stops.

Here is one of the Golden Rules I use with spines.....a hurting nerve is an alive and kicking nerve. A nerve in trouble stops hurting and that is when you are in trouble. Don't let pain make you think you are that bad....when it gets replaced with numbness/pins and needles and function loss(like you can't raise a shoulder) or you have trouble walking due to stiff leg muscles...then you need help and most likely surgery.

My cord was 5-6mms at 3 levels in my back and every single nerve on both sides from C3 top C7 was ranked as severe...and I had surgery. And I can still do everything I did before surgery.

Relax.

Last edited by Administrator; 02-13-2013 at 08:01 PM.

 
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:49 PM   #4
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Thanks for everyone's help. I thought I could have laser surgery but the Laser Spine Institute in Oklahoma City does not contract with any insurance company but Tricare (never heard of it). I have Blue Cross & Blue Shield Federal and Medicare and they said i would still be out of pocket as much as $20,000. I broke down and cried. I don't understand how they can be so unfeeling as to not contract and are taking advantage of a new and preferable surgery and saving it for only those who can afford such an extraordinary out of pocket expense. My husband is only a few years away from retirement and I am on disability due to failed lumbar fusion and fibromyalgia. I can't go in debt $20,000 this late in my life and I'm only 53, but it's still not feasible. I refuse to do a fusion as the one that I've already had made my pain worse instead of better.

 
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:43 PM   #5
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Dear survivor, I dont know which surgery you wanted to have but if i were you i would see a complex spine injury minimally invasive neurosurgeon. I have seen two & an appointment was readily
available with my bcbs. Also, when i had back surgery the first time, well everytime i had laser assisted surgery in a " normal" hospital.

Last edited by Administrator; 02-13-2013 at 08:01 PM. Reason: add on

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:29 AM   #6
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Thank you, I will. The more I read about "Laser Spine Surgery" the happier I am that I cannot afford to have it done! I hope to find a neurosurgeon who can help me at the Oklahoma Spine Hospital. By the way, were your laser assisted surgeries at these "normal" hospitals successful surgeries? You didn't say.

Last edited by fmgal; 01-30-2013 at 01:35 AM.

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Yes, the nerve compression was relieved & the surgery was successful per se but i developed a condition called adhesive arachnoiditis that is caused by & i had all of these myelogram dye, multiple surgeries, esp dural surgs & i had many csf leaks when i got hurt & after surgery that had to be repaired,epidural steroid injs & anesthesia etc & it scars the spinal nerves & cord causing cruel pain & i do.

Last edited by Administrator; 02-13-2013 at 08:02 PM.

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Oh man - I really feel bad for you! I have heard all about arachnoiditis and it is one of the problems that I do not have as of yet. It is the reason that I quit letting every dr. tom, dick and harry give me injections every time I turned around! The injections didn't help anyway and I will not take the chance of getting arachnoiditis in addition to everything else that I am dealing with.

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:57 PM   #9
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Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

I really dont know which of all the medical interventions caused it but one word of advice is when an MRI or CT is done get a copy & read it for yourself. I trusted my NS to tell me & of course no dr wants to say arach so I wasnt told until 2012 & it was present on MRI in 1988 ! I hope that you find the right solution for your pain & back problems. God bless you survivor.

Last edited by Administrator; 02-13-2013 at 08:04 PM.

 
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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fmgal HB User
Re: Long Time DDD-Now Cervical Osteophyte Spurring

Since my first report in 2000 when my regular MD (an idiot) told me that my MRI was normal and I believed him, I have gotten a copy of my reports with every MRI I have had since. When I finally saw my 2000 report, it very specifically stated that I had degeneration in my L4-L5 and L5-S1 disks. If I had known the truth at that time I could have had an IDET procedure and would not have degenerated so far that my only recourse was the fusion in 2002. I learned my lesson the hard way. I even specifically asked the doctors before my 2006 MRI to please check for arachnoiditis and the report says that there was no arachnoiditis found. Neither does my Jan. 2013 MRI. Thanks a lot for your concern. I knew I might be in trouble when I had read that injections can cause this very painful condition, so I made sure that it was checked. God Bless you too, gmak!

 
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