I am 33 years old and one day found myself having very bad pains in the shoulder blades arms and fingers. I waited 6 weeks before seeing a doctor. I have three kids 1,2,5 and thought this was why i wa having the pain (stay home MOM), I went to my primary who reffered me to Spine SPecialist and neurosurgeon. After the MRI and seeing bothe doctors, it was agree I would have an operation for Stenosis, bone spurs and herniated disks, (I have DDD) whcih seems to have caused a bruised Spinal Cord with effacment of CFS fluid in the C5-C6 area and Kyphosis of the C-Spine. Does anyone else have bruising of the Spinal Cord because of disk intrusion, has anyone had a 3 level fusion done. My doctors advise me that when they see my X-rays and MRI's and compared them to someone in a wheel chair they can not tell which films belong to who. I am walking fine as I take care of my kids, the pain is back and tingling and numbness in my left arms, back and left leg is their. I was not asked to do therapy they both agrred the operation was my only hope to avoid paralysys. I have asked to schedule surgery as they both will be doing the surgery (Spinal surgeopn for fuison and neurosurgeon for decompression). I am scared but I have no choice it seems.
do you happen to have a copy of that MRi in your possession?if not,i would advise you to obtain one(along with any and all actual medical records pertaining to this like doc clinic notes and any other testing,and keep updating them as you go).if you get one,could you please post just what the summary states at the very end of the report?this post and what you have stated just sounds a bit odd to me thats all.how do they think your actual cord became "bruised'?and how do they actually know this is any sort of real bruising?i have never heard that on an MRI report before.i am just wondering how they could know that without actually "seeing' the cord itself,you know?is there any mention of myelomalacia in the report?did they actually explain to you just what "effacement of the csf" was all about?if i remember right,'effacement" means some kind of thinning?i am also curious as to what that wheel chair comment was all about too??
i have pretty severe DDD(and three seperate surgeries on my c spine area with one directly into the cord itself) and have never had bruising or really heard that term used in an MRI report before.posting that report would really really help me to help you in the best possible way.i am just trying to really understand all of what this actually means for you.thanks,Marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
Thaks for caring! my Report states Impression: Sever Canal Stenosis at C5-C6 Level with abnormal signal intensity within the cervical cord suggesting mylomalacia due to compression.
Small central disc protrusion at the C-4-5 level and small disc-osteophyte complex at the c6-7 level.
I must say both doctors were shocked when they saw me compared to the report and films. My neck has no curev (Kyphosis). I was electricuted when I was 5 years old (220 volts) in europe and also had a car accident at 17 (totaled the car head on to a wall on the expressway) never taken to the hospital. And recently passed out and fell into a poll (carport) breaking(smashing) and lacerating my nose really bad. Doctors do not know the cause of why my cervical is so bad especially on such a young person they just know they need to fix it.
Wow Jessar you have been through a lot. I am so sorry!!
This stuff is all so scary and confusing...Oh and lets not forget the pain we have and the normal stresses of life.
I can't wait to see what Feelbad has to comment about your report. She has reached out to me on an occasion and I am glad that she responded to your post.
I have some problems in my cervical area as well but I don't think it is as complicated as yours. I was in a car accident recently. Not to mention all the other accidents in the past but no symptoms untill this most recent accident.
My MRI report says that I have a mild bulging at C3-4 that is slightly leftsided.
And C4-5 and C5-5 have a small broad based central disc protrusion.
It says there is no neural impingement and no cord contact but one is pretty close to the cord in my opinion. It would not take much of an injury to get it there but I am not a doc. I do have some numbness and tingling on my shoulder and down to the bra line. Sometimes it makes the permanent nerve damage in my arm seem exagerated so we will have to see what the docs say.
I read your post this morning but I did not have time to respond. The Brusing thing sounded weird to me to. I have never heard of such a thing. It will be something to look up on the internet and see what you find out.
Right now I am in the process of waitng to see the Neuro Doc on the 7th of Sept, and a pain doc/ ortho on the 11th.
In the mean time I go to a chiro and try to get relief there but with no avail.
I certainly hope that you get some answers and a direction of sorts.
I know that having this kind of operation is probly not really an easy thing not just the surgery part but with your children etc. I can't imagine.
I am not married and do not have kids. I have a hard enough time having to do for myself.
Actually I have over the last 3 years had four surgeries on my left arm so I am not a stranger to the fears pain unkowns and tests and well all the stuff that goes on with serious injury.
Everyone on this board is so helpful and understanding. I don't know what I would do without them. They really understand!! If you need another person to lean on and vent to I will be there!
Hang in there...Chrissy
Jessarr, I am a healthy 46 yo male with no history of spinal/neurological issues. I started having symptoms in early Feb 07 and within weeks I was having numbness and pain down my left arm down to my fingertips. Originally diagnosed as a pulled muscle in my upper back, an MRI revealed some issues going on in my C-spine. Here is the radiologist's report:
================= Begin of Report Content =================
MRI CERVICAL SPINE W O CONT
CLINICAL HISTORY: A 46-year-old male with upper left back pain and left sided shoulder and hand pain.
Sagittal T1 and T2 weighted sequences were obtained through the cervical spine as well as axial gradient echo T2 weighted images. No prior studies are available for comparison.
FINDINGS: There is mild straightening of the cervical spine which is nonspecific, but can be seen in the setting of cervical muscle spasm. The craniovertebral junction is unremarkable. The atlantodens interval is normal. The prevertebral soft tissues are unremarkable.
There are mild to moderate multilevel degenerative changes as evidenced by disc dessication and disc space narrowing within the mid cervical spine, most marked at the C4-C5 through C6-C7 levels.
At the C2-C3 level, the disc spaces are well maintained with no discrete disc herniation or bulge.
At the C3-C4 level, there is a very small disc bulge. No significant spinal canal stenosis is present. There is mild asymmetric protrusion of the disc towards the left neural foramen at this level. This is seen on image #7 of 24 of the axial T2 weighted images.
At the C4-C5 level, there is more moderate disc bulging with a larger asymmetric disc protrusion towards the left C4-C5 neural foramen contributing to mild narrowing of this neural foramen (image #11 of 24 of the axial T2 weighted images). Mild associated spinal canal stenosis is present at this level.
At the C5-C6 level, there is a prominent disc bulge. A small asymmetric protrusion towards the right is seen at this level with associated mild spinal canal stenosis. Associated hypertrophic bony changes are seen. There is mild bilateral C5-C6 neural foraminal narrowing on a degenerative basis, right greater than left.
At the C6-C7 level, there is a broad based disc bulge which effaces the ventral subarachnoid space (image #19 of 24 of the axial T2 weighted images). No discrete disc herniation is present. Again present is mild spinal canal stenosis.
The cervical cord demonstrates normal caliber and signal throughout its course as seen on the sagittal T2 weighted images. No intraspinal masses are present.
The paravertebral soft tissues are unremarkable.
Mild to moderate multilevel degenerative changes with disc bulging and foraminal compromise as discussed in detail above. Hypertrophic bony changes which also contribute to some narrowing of the spinal canal at the C5-C6 level. Please see detailed discussion above.
================= End of Report Content =================
I had a 3 level fusion in early March (C4,5,6) and am now doing great. My surgery was done via a small incision (maybe 2 inches) in the front of my neck, just to the left of my Adam's apple. I spent that night in the Neuro Intermediate Care Unit and was discharged 24 hours after the procedure. Relief was immediate and pain from the surgery was almost zero, The worst pain was a severe sore throat from the intubation and also from my larynx and other throat bits getting pushed aside to make room for the surgery. The surgeon fixed the stenosis in various places, and replaced my 2 bad disks with cadaver bone spacers, all held together with a titanium plate and screws.
The recovery period was really just a few weeks of taking it easy, and not spending too much time in the office the first week.. I was not allowed to drive for a week mainly becuase the Dr wanted to make sure I would be able to swivel my head quickly if I needed to; and no motorcycle riding for a few weeks. Same reason but more critical on a bike of course, also I am a long distance rider and he was concerned with 10-15 hour days on a bike. He also asked me to postpone a planned 9 day ride through the Alps which was scheduled for May. Other than that, no negative impact on my life.
I had my 3 month (and final) post op checkup a month ago and all looks good, the fusion is taking hold nicely.
TTRIDER, ( I am new on the board Ihope you get this message)
A tear runs down my face as I read your message. I am so happy to see that their is good that comes out of the surgery. You ahve realy given me astrength and I will continue to think positivly about the operation and its outcome. My father is completly against surgery as he had lower back surgery years ago and still suffers the pain. My husbadn is an OR nurse and is all for the operation (he is terrified i will be paralyzed if not) I thank you for sharing you positive outcome. It has given me strength. All my best to you.
WOW. My first post has an impact on someone. That's nice.
I can't speak to your Dad's operation but things are quite advanced nowadays as you can imagine (and I'm sure your husband can tell you).
My surgeon was great, one of the top guys in the NYC area (New York Magazine 'Top Doctors' list....), who specializes in vascular brain surgery and spinal surgery. I met with him on a Friday and was having the op the following Thursday. I had already spoken to and shared my MRI images with a couple of other MD's, including a friend who is a neurologist. They all agreed that surgical intervention was necessary. The surgeon told me that I had stenosis not only in the foraminal openings (the holes on the side of your vertebrae where your nerves exit), but also in my main spinal canal. He said THAT was serious since it was already really starting to press on my spinal chord. He said paralysis was in my future, either from doing nothing, or from a minor fall or accident. THAT scared the crap out of me, and that's when I asked him how soon he'd be available. Next thing I know I'm sitting with his assistant who is scheduling my pre op testing for the next day; and clearing the procedure with my insurance co. I asked my Dr how many of these he's done and he does few a week. Make sure you are totally comfortable with your surgeon. You have the added benefit of a spouse who can probably get the inside track.
You'll do great. Feel free to post questions if you want more details.
(and no, I don't set off metal detectors at the airport; people ask me that al the time !)
jess so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.i keep running out of energy by the time i get down here.i do think what your doc stated about the actual 'bruising' was in reality the myelomalacia(thats what i was kind of thinking and why i asked if it was actually in the report).it is not really a bruising but an injuring of the cord itself from the constant compression and irritation.its kind of like a person who sits like in a wheelchair all day and doesn't get moved or the compression sores the elderly people get when they are lying in one spot for too long?the 'skin' starts to break down from that constant contact.that is more in line with what actual myelomalacia really is.your cord is actually injured and contacted.i too would want to get this corrected.the compression and continued irritation will only progress,not get better on its own once you actually have myelo.
what kind of boggles my mind here is why your doc cannot understand why this actually "could" be there when you consider the accident you had(hard impact on your c spine perhaps?)and espescially given the fact that you were never actually evaluated post accident for any real injuries.i do think that probably at least started the process then and it has just progressed over time.the khyphosis is actually loss of lordosis.alot of people have this,me included.becasue of the c spine issues,you just start to lose that natural lordodic curve(lordosis).getting a couple of opinions from a couple different neurosurgeons really would be the best way to go to really see more possible options for you.plua no two surgeons will see things exactly the same either.its just a great idea when you are considering any spinal surgery,espescially with myelo already present.this just needs to be relieved before you really start getting the more freaky types of myelopathic and radiculopathic symptoms.spinal cord injuries just suck,trust me,you do not want to go there.getting this fixed i really do think would be in your best interest.just find a good experienced and knowledgable NS to do this for you.its great that your hubby is actually a nurse,at least he has some level of understanding that other husbands might not.please keep me posted,K?good luck,again sorry it took so long,Marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
TTRIDER--I'm new here and I'm having trouble finding your original post, but I'm scheduled for cervical spine surgery in Oct. and I'm terrified! I think you had the same surgery I'm going to have. Three levels--c4-5, c5-6 and c6-7 using cadaver bone fusion with plate and screws? It seems you did very well after surgery and I keep reading posts of horror stories post-surgery and I need a ray of hope here! I was in a car accident in Aug. 2004. I've had surgery on both shoulders (the left was basically rebuilt and still needs work). I've had three epidurals for the cervical spine pain with no relief. I've been in pain down the right arm for 2 yrs, and now it's in the left side as well and my neurological problems are progressing rapidly, ie: arms and legs weakening, numbness and "shocks" in right hand, sudden loss of balance---the list goes on.
PLEASE give me some words of encouragement!
PS-Also need to have lumbar surgery at a later date---but this is my most feared.
The spine surgeon I have is a firm believer in surgery only as a last resort, and as little as possible. He also teaches part-time at a nearby medical center where they take a lot of trauma victims.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, my condition has progressed quite a bit, so it won't be the minimal surgery I had hoped for, but I'll know more after my final pre-surgery MRI.
Peggydo5... Reading all the post, and came upon yours. I'm 6 weeks post-op having a 4 level ADCF, AND 1 corpectomy. (they remove the entire vertebra). Replace this with what they call a cage. They went in the front, and I had very little pain. They took the bone from my neck, shaved it down, mixed it with the mix and replaced it back into me. I did not have to have a donor bone, or a bone from my hip. I was in the hospital for 2 days, and the only discomfort I had, was my throat. Very scratchy, due to the tube, AND a slight feeling of my throat being swollen. Due to the moving of my esophagus I drank with straws, and the first week I ate very soft foods, and took very little bites. In time, the throat heals, and the food is solid and a wee bit bigger...It all takes time. I'm doing everything they tell me to do, and I go next week for my first set of x rays to see how the fusion is doing. My problems with the disc pressing on my spinal cord, was causing, my left leg to be numb, heavy, could not lift it, and I walked with a limp and a cane. I walk now with no limp, what a blessing that is. This is going to be for me a longer recovery, since I had this pressing so very long on my cord (years). BUT, I was told this surgery has stopped any further damage to the cord, AND will keep me out of the wheelchair, they said I would be in IF I did not have this surgery. I put all my faith into my Lord and he guided me in the right direction... I hope all will good for you, and let us know how you are doing...Janatee PS: I would have this again...No problem....
Janatee, I can't thank you enough! My surgery is on Mon. (Oct. 15th) and I've been so anxious this past week. You gave me the info I was looking for---what to expect after surgery. It was very helpful. My doctor and I have decided to do two levels (c5-6 and 6-7) rather than three, after the last MRI. These are the worst and most likely the source of pain and associated problems.
I've had surgery on both shoulders (also from the car accident) and the first, my left, was open surgery and very extensive and extremely painful. I have very little deltoid muscle left on that shoulder (mostly skin over bone) and had a different doctor for the right side (this past July) which went much better. Now he may have to do repair on the right---it's still not right. I also need surgery on my lumbar spine, but this (cervical) is my most frightening.
I see you're in SC---my sister lives in Conway. She's flying in tonight to be with me for a week.
Thank you again---I was praying for something to put me a little at ease, and then I got your reply! I'll let you know how it goes! Peggy