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Old 08-25-2004, 02:16 PM   #1
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Randy86 HB User
Cervical Spinal Stenosis-Post Op

I have had cervical spinal stenosis for the past four years. Four weeks ago, I finally had the surgery (laminoplasty C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7). My symptoms were not typical of cervical spinal stenosis. I did not have any pain, but when I would lay down in bed and lift my head up, my neck would tremble. I also had trouble with handwriting as well as weakness in my legs and some other atypical sypmtoms. The surgeon said that the compression in my spine was worse than the MRI showed. My question is this - after 4 weeks my symptoms are still the same (maybe a little worse). Is this because the nerves are even more inflamed after the surgery and need to heal or adjust? If the surgery was successful, how long does it take for these symptoms to go away? I have read that it take up to a year to get better, and that the nerves heal at a very slow pace. Is this true, or do most people start feeling better after a month?

Thanks in advance,
Randy

 
Old 08-26-2004, 05:33 AM   #2
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rgsmoose HB User
Re: Cervical Spinal Stenosis-Post Op

My impression of your symptoms are that they are typical of cervical stenosis. The problems with handwriting and leg weakness are indicative of myelopathy - that's pressure on the spinal cord usually caused by stenosis. If the cause of the stenosis is from bone growth, that pressure has to be removed via surgery. In your case it was the 6-level laminaplasty. The goal of the surgery is to remove the pressure on the cord to prevent further damage. Unfortunately, no one can predict if the existing symptoms of myelopathy will get better after the pressure is removed. If the pressure on the cord wasn't too bad for too long, there is a chance the symptoms will get better - but sometimes the damage has already been done and the symptoms won't get better. And, the surgery will cause some inflammation of the nerves and cord, so the symptoms may get worse in the short run and then get better. This can take a year or more.

In my case, the stenosis was too much for too long. I have myelomalacia, which is permanent damage to the spinal cord in the area of the stenosis. I had a C5/C6 corpectomy in April 2002 and am fused C4-C7. The myelopathy symptoms I had never got any better after that surgery, but the radiculopathy symptoms did (my arms were not numb anymore). I still have weakness in my legs along with foot drop, which are most likely caused from myelopathy. Unfortunately my arm problems came back and I next needed a C3/C4/C5 laminaplasty last November. So far no more numbness in my arms - I'm hoping it stays away this time.

My surgeons were very careful to explain to me that the goal of the decompression surgery was only to relieve pressure to prevent further damage. It may not ever have any impact on any myelopathy issues. Sometimes it does, but it's all dependent on how severe the problem was for how long. I hope you do get some relief in the next year or so. You may be one of the lucky ones.

Good luck.

 
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