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Old 03-24-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
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Reappearing symptoms after ACDF surgery-not sure what to do

Hello,

Four weeks ago, I developed sudden 24/7 numbness/tingling in my left hand. After a few days, I also developed intermittent left foot/left leg/right leg numbness/tingling.

Intermittent moderate/high pain in left forearm & elbow. Went to my ortho (about 2 weeks ago) who specializes in necks & backs (the one that referred me to the surgeon in 2006).

He feels it is Cubital Tunnel but doesn't understand the other numbness.. He ordered a 1.5 hour EMG which I am to have on Tuesday the 27th.

My dilema is that I know feel almost 100% sure that this is spinal cord related-especially after re-reading an old post from 2006 with my original symptoms. (I pasted the link below) I am now experiencing right sided numbness and facial and head numbness.

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/spinal-cord-disorders/390589-5-days-post-op-acdf-w-fusion-symptoms-have-returned-im-scared.html

I am thinking I need to cancel this EMG..probably a total waste of time. My last MRI was in 2008 (with some slight degeneration). I'm also thinking on Monday of calling the ortho & telling him all this and requesting an MRI.
Getting an appointment with my surgeon is very difficult.

Any ideas? Comments?

thanks so much for reading all of this !!

Jennifer

 
Old 03-24-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Re: Reappearing symptoms after ACDF surgery-not sure what to do

I take it you're not talking about total numbness like "I can't find my leg" numbness but more like the tingling and a sensation that you have "lost some feeling in the limb" numbness???????

If it's the first...I can't find my leg it is so numb...then it's ER time. If it's the.....I can feel that I've lost some sense of feeling in my leg....then I'd do the EMG.

Do you have any muscle weakness to go along with the numbness?

An EMG is not worthless...in fact it can be very valuable. It can help to show if it's nerve compression or cord compression or brain based. Remember, these same problems can originate in the brain as well. And not just disorders like MS but viruses can do this too. It would take a pretty big injury to bring on this amount of numbness this fast.

But it can also be neck. I'd call and tell the doc that you are worsening and ask about an MRI and/or CT on top of the EMG. You need to find the source of the problem and promptly.

Let me share with you my experience in hopes that it will help you. I broke my neck 3 months after having major surgery on it. The lamina bone broke as did some of my bone grafts and the lamina ended up being pushed into the cord at C6 as well as into the C6 nerve. I was told it was only muscle spasms from my previous surgery and sent home from 2 ER's with pain meds and antispasmotics......yes...2 ERs without anyone even taking an X-ray. When my doc saw me 2 1/2 weeks later(on vacation of course), he did a couple of x-rays and saw that my neck had gone into reverse from dislocated vertebrae and immediately scheduled surgery(couldn't see the fractures they were so small). He had me get a CT before coming in for surgery and only on the morning of surgery, he discover I had been walking around with a broken neck for 27 days.

My symptoms came on very fast....in seconds....but were mostly muscle spasms originally. I had that sensation that I was losing feeling in my limbs but not the "I can't find my arms or legs" type numbness. But I also had weakness that was very subtle at first but became increasingly bad with time. The weakness really started to become profound and I could hardly walk or even sign my name to the 10million papers I had to sign prior to surgery.

So as bad as that numbness sensation can be(I've got numb legs right now and heading for surgery Monday)it's when weakness develops along with it that you have a problem. So if you get weak muscles too.....then push the doc or go to an ER. But the moral of my story is that you can walk around with a broken neck for 4 weeks and still be okay.

So if you can still walk and move your arms, the nerve signals are getting through. Watch for more changes and know that you are not in danger yet. Lots more can and will happen before you are in danger of having a major problem. For now, test and find out what is wrong. And consider finding another doc to take care of you...cupital tunnel...really??????

hugs........Jenny

 
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Reappearing symptoms after ACDF surgery-not sure what to do

I'm inclined to think you have (at least) two problems... something wrong with the left elbow, but also a cervical spinal problem.

 
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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Re: Reappearing symptoms after ACDF surgery-not sure what to do

How was your EMG? During mine, the doctor kept telling me to relax my already-relaxed legs. Then, she would come over and verify that they were as relaxed as they were going to get. Can't control the spontaneous muscle spasms caused by compression of the spinal nerves.

I wanted to respond by telling her to quit putting thumbtacks in my legs, but the short-term discomfort yielded some good clinical information.

 
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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Results of EMG...still confused

Hello All,
Thanks so much for all of the input.

The EMG was 1.5 hours long. In addition to the left hand and arm, he also tested the left leg, my neck, and back since I was still complaining of some neck pain and tingling/numbness intermittently in both feet and occasionally even in my head and right hand.

Diagnosis was Pronator Teres Syndrome (PTS)..i think kinda like carpal tunnel of the forearm instead of the wrist.
He was mysified about the numbness in other areas of my body.
He and I are also puzzled as to why I developed it.
I do nothing that requires repetitive motion and do not participate in any sports besides walking.

Next tuesday (4/3/12), I have a consultation with an Orthopedic surgeon (he actually operated on my broken ankle in 2004)...

I'm just really mystified as to why I developed this and what' going on with all of the other tingling/numbness....

Any thoughts??

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Jennifer

 
Old 03-28-2012, 11:22 PM   #6
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Re: Reappearing symptoms after ACDF surgery-not sure what to do

I went out of work 4/2009 and my use of a computer decreased dramatically. Fast forward to early 2011 with some hand pain and numbness, and the EMG showed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and some residual neck stuff (C4) that I need to get taken care of eventually. So in April of 2011 I had my right hand done, then about a month later my left hand. Both were Carpal Tunnel release surgeries. In September I had a right knee replacement (age 45) so I am no ready yet to dive into another ACDF to add C4.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:34 AM   #7
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Re: Reappearing symptoms after ACDF surgery-not sure what to do

Odd that these conditions normally associated with repetitive use can arise in situations where repetitive use seems unlikely. From my search on your diagnosis, Pronator Teres Syndrome, it sounds like carpal tunnel, but with the pinched nerve in the elbow, affecting forearms, hand, etc.

It also seems like the condition is often treated without surgery, which could be very good news indeed.

Perhaps you have an elbow issue, as predicted by another poster (the PTS), and a cervical issue? Maybe treating the PTS will diminish your symptoms sufficiently to allow you to avoid surgery? Fingers crossed.

 
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