This is my first time posting here. i have 2 surgical consults scheduled with top NYC drs in 2 wks. I am wondering what your impressions are of these findings. From what I read on these boards, it seems like I will need the surgery. I wonder what kind of surgery I will likely need.
I'd like to give you the summary of my MRI:
Impressions: Severe spinal stenosis at C5-6, attributed to herniated disc and osteophyte, with associated localized spinal cord compression, resulting in edema and/or myelomalacia.
I went for the MRI after having months of pins and needles feeling and numbness, clumsiness in my L hand and arm. My EMG test was normal. A month of PT (3x/wk) has done nothing.
More excerpts from the MRI report: at C6-7 "mild to moderate annular bulge." And at C4-5, "there is moderate left paracentral ventral extradural defect, attributed to assymetrically bulging disc tissue, osteophyte, and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament."
Thanks so much for any input - also, if I did need surgery, how long until I can return to work (I work part-time, mostly sitting, and create my own hours)? I also have a toddler and 6 year old - I wonder how long until I will be able to care for my toddler by myself (put him into a carseat, change his diaper).
Because you have the osteophyte, aka bone spur, the surgery that will most likely be offered is a Fusion. Anterior Cervical Discetomy and Fusion or ACDF.
I think the standard wait before going back to work is 6-8 weeks. Don't expect to do much of anything so its good to have someone with you at all times to make sure you are okay and that the toddler is taken care of as well. Its easy to fool yourself into thinking you can take on more when you shouldn't. Let everybody take care of you and don't feel guilty about it.
I agree, they will probably offer at least a 2 level ACDF for C4-6 but may be a 3 level ACDF on C4-7.
If they offer a 2 level surgery., you could expect more like a 8-12 week recovery. If they offer a 3 level surgery, that might be a little more to recover because you want to be careful to allow time for all the levels to start to fuse. This fusing process will take a long time, but you will be adding activity as you go. The biggest mistake we all make is we try to do too much too fast because we feel better soon after.
My experience has been that after first week, you will feel well enough to care for yourself and do simple things. Definitely, no household chores and driving for probably 8 - 12 weeks or a little more with this many levels. No lifting anything over weight of a gallon of milk.
If you do lots of computer you might aggravate your pain for a while. My advice is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. LIke prepare to be off work for 3 months and hopefully you will return earlier like 8 weeks. After the first two weeks, you can probably do most care of the kids, with a little creativity. Definitely do not lift that toddler!
Last edited by PNo; 03-18-2007 at 02:06 PM.
Reason: didn't finish had to save because power ran out on laptop
I am shocked that I will need such an involved surgery. My history is that when I was 16 I had whiplash from sports. No other injuries since then (I am in my late 30s). I have been playing aggressive tennis recently, though. I love(d) it. Anyway, I have 2 surgical consults coming up and will post afterwards. I am so worried about my toddler (who is so cuddly) -- how will I be able to snuggle him or show him affection with this surgery? I can't hold him - can he sit on my lap? Oh man.
Also, anyone know the best surgeons in NYC or in the whole country for this kind of thing? I would fly to go to the best person if nec.
And lastly, I WOULD like a longer hospital stay if nec - my house is nuts with my boys. I wonder what the longest time span is that I can stay?
Thanks so much,
ps - thanks for everyone's old posts - I read almost all of them over the past week!!
I also have been diagnosed with severe cervical spinal stenosis, along with cervical disc protrusion. Like you, I suffered from tingling, numbness and weakness in my left arm and hand. I do not have osteophytes though, although my current PT is suspect of that based on what she feels when doing traction with me. What's puzzling them is how utterly tight and locked my back muscles continue to be, even as the neck muscles finally start to respond. I have a lot of pain in my mid-thoracic area.
I'm curious as to your medical path thus far. You have two surgical consults lined up - did your doc refer you surgically right away based on your results or have you also done any conservative treatments like PT or epidural injections? I'm still trying PT as a first option. I'm having limited success. My tingling is less in my hand, so I'm hoping I can avoid surgery.
Do keep us posted on your progress. As I said, I'd also love to know what you've tried thus far for non-surgical treatment. Good luck!
I did try 1 month of 3x/wk PT - and traction once (my symptoms really got bad after that). Honestly, the PT hasn't worked for me. I tried it and the symptoms are worse and seem to be progressing (now my foot is numb). I have not tried epidural injections because my pain isn't too bad (thank goodness) - the problems is really my Left hand (numbness, tingling, and clumsiness) with some pain down my arm and in my shoulders/back. I will see what the surgeons say. I don't want to rush into surgery, but I also don't want to let it wait and suffer further damage (as my hand is deteriorating quickly - or so it seems, despite a normal EMG in Feb).
Yes osteophytes don't respond to PT, they are bone growth. I have a big problem with osteophytes continuing to grow even after they remove some.
The only thing with doing conservative that I have learned is that if you have myelopthy symptoms - from cord compression, etc. you really don't want to mess with that. There is possibility of permanent damage, and if they think it should be fixed, I would fix it.
You can hold your kids if you are sitting, but you you shouldn't plan on lifting them, i am sure they will tell you this.
HaHaha on the hospital stay, at most you might be there 2 days maybe three, sometimes they send you home in 24 hours. Depends on which procedure they recommend to you as the best one for your case
I don't know any NY docs, just make sure you find good neurosurgeon, or alternatively you could use a orthopedic spine center. But since you have cord symtpoms, if it were me, I would choose a neuro. Just get one that has done the procedure lots and has good aftercare. i.e., sees you regularly, has good plans to get you back to functioning, etc.. , takes the time to talk to you and explain what it all means.
Hi Lisa! Welcome to the board! I am 9 wks post-op ACDF C5-C6. I had severe cord compression with some of the same symptoms that you are experiencing. I am 30 yrs old and have 2 boys ages 3 & 9. I had a great neurosurgeon in PA. He totally took his time to explain everything and had a lot of experience with doing ACDF.
My toddler is 37 lbs and I am pretty much at the point where I don't think that I will be lifting him again. At this point the heaviest thing I can lift is a gallon of milk so it has been very difficult trying to care for a toddler. I made sure that I had plenty of help after surgery, only got 1 day in the hospital. It took my son some getting used too, and he had a hard time understanding what was going on. He is also a big cuddle bug so we explained to him about mommy's boo-boo and that he had to be extra careful. You will be able to have lap time as long as he can climb up. It was quite a few weeks before I could change him and we are in the middle of potty training so it has been interesting. Basically if he is being difficult I have to wait it out, can't just pick him up anymore and move him for naps, grocery trips, etc. So he has learned to get in and out of the carseat. I try to avoid taking him anywhere by myself around naptime because if he falls asleep in the car I can't carry him.
So you will learn a whole new way of doing things, and the big thing is not to overdo it. I had the hardest time just letting things go. My hubby has a whole different idea on cleaning, etc. My house does not look like it usually does but my main focus now is on me and to get healed so I have learned to overlook things and that the world will not end. Having this surgery has actually taught me a lot. I am no longer going to run in the rat race and this recovery time has taught me to slow down, enjoy the simple things and be grateful everyday for what I do have.....
Sorry to drag on. I hope that gives you some insight. I have learned a lot here, everyone has so much to offer! Keep us posted!! Best of luck!