Hi! I am new to this board. I have been reading a lot of the postings and have found them very helpful.
Back in April after an episode of vomiting from a stomach bug i had extreme pain In my neck. I went to my GP and she suggested Physical Therapy. My x-ray showed cervical straightening. The Orthopaedic Dr said it was due to muscle spasms. About one month later i went for a follow appt. (I also had PT during this time) I started having arm pain so i went for an MRI. The results were a large central disc extrusion herniation at C5/C6 with cord compression. As my symptoms were getting worse I decided to get a second opinion (from a Neurosurgeon this time) the NS reviewed my MRI and said my spinal cord was shaped like a boomerang! He gave me the analogy that I was walking above Niagra Falls on a tight rope! He informed me if i have a fall or get in accident i will most likely be paralyzed from the neck down!
The neurological testing he did showed hyperreflexia and a positive result for Hoffman's. The NS wanted me to see his partner immediately. So the very next day i did. This NS described my MRI pictures as "bright" and that the disc was quite impressive. I'm not sure what "bright" means. Does anyone? He also confirmed i needed surgery immediately. I am having ACDF this Wed. 7-11-12. Everything is happening so fast. i have had my pre-op done and am going for a CT Scan on Monday. M pain is now much worse. I have right shoulder and arm pain and diminishing hand dexterity. I am also having pain down both legs.3 The headaches are terrible and the shoulder blade pain just never goes away. I was wondering if anyone could give me their opinion or experience. I havent had much time to prepare or process this. I would love to hear of any suggestions on what to expect. Thanks so much. Sorry this is so long!
Last edited by dcoday; 07-08-2012 at 11:20 AM.
The following user gives a hug of support to dcoday: ANGELINMICHIGAN (07-08-2012)
I also had an "emergency" (one week from initial X-ray to operating room) single-level ACDF, but it was sixteen years ago and I really don't remember the aftermath all that well. Besides, I have no doubt that "they" have gotten better at it since then.
There are many posts here by people who've recently had ACDF's, most recently including Hamsta's thread. You could also read the List of Items to Have at Home After ACDF thread that's in the header section.
I find it remarkable that both your GP and your Ortho so badly misdiagnosed the problem. They really blew it, and there's just no other way to put it. The Ortho, in particular, should have known better. Unfortunately, this kind of misdiagnosis does not seem to be all that uncommon.
It would be very helpful to others here (and give you something to do...lol) if you could post the radiologist's report from your MRI and also a description of your symptoms.
As for "bright", one really can't say whether it's good or bad, because it depends on the context. I do recall reading recently about some aspect of a spinal MRI being "bright", with the implication that "bright" was NOT GOOD. I think it referred to possible cord damage (myelomalacia) due to bleeding within the cord, but I may have that wrong. Since your neuro mentioned it, and did so in a manner that made you remember him mentioning it, that would lead me to guess that in your case it's not a good thing.
I think it's very good that you followed through on this as well as you did, and I wish you the best of luck with your surgery.
dcoday....Hi, I don't know if I can help you, but I just wanted to say welcome to the spinal health boards. I am so sorry to hear what has happened to you and I hope today finds you feeling a bit better
There is at the beginning of the health boards here ACDF "under sticky notes, I think it is called" some helpful notes about what you will need to have at home before and after your surgery (just some helpful hints). I haven't read them before but I know everyone on here will tell new people to read them if they are looking at having this type of surgery!!!
WebDozer usually helps all of us on here to explain our results of MRI, Cat scans or x-rays and can pretty well tell you what is going on in your spine. I know you are booked for your surgery next week but if you have the results of that MRI she can explain to you !!!
If you have it in front of you then if you can just type what the radiologist put on it then she will try to explain it. She must not have seen your note yet!!!
I have had this surgery done and as you said you have read up on a lot of posts. Don't let any horror stories scare you as we are all individuals and heal differently!!!
Did the surgeon tell you if they are using a donor bone or a bone from your hip? What did he explain to you about the surgery?
You have so many things going on for a C5/6 fusion.
Take care of yourself and hope you feel better soon. It takes a while to recooperate from this type of surgery and lots of rest afterwards and following doctor's orders and you should be back on your feet in no time
Thank you WebDozer and Lyn Angel. I made the mistake of writing my post from my phone late at night! (what a disaster)
Ok here is my MRI Findings:
The cerebellar tonsils are in normal position. The spinal cord is normal in caliber and signal.
There is a straightening of the cervical spine. The vertebral body heights and bone marrow signal are preserved.
There is a large central disc extrusion at C5-6 level encroaching on the ventral subarachnoid space compressing the cord. This has increased to prior study dated 11/30/10, with increased impingement on the cord. There is no abnormal signal within the cord to suggest edema.
as far as my symptoms i have neck pain and pain between my shoulder blades. I have right shoulder and arm pain which extends to my thumb and index finger. Which also has the feeling of pins and needles. (I believe this is due to the C6 nerve root being compressed.) I do get some pain down my left arm but not as much as my right arm. More recently i have been getting leg pain as well.
I did also test positive for the Hoffman's test and Hyperreflexia. (sp?) The NS did say my cord was being compressed quite a bit and should be corrected right away.
Webdozer you are correct about the "bright" comment by my NS it was not something positive. It was in reference how the images appeared on the MRI.
My NS did say i would not have to wear a collar and he would be using a "cage" a synthetic type of material. Not a cadaver bone or my hip bone.
I am hoping my nerve pain will go away once the surgery is done.
Thank you so much everyone for your comments and future help.
Any further explanation of my MRI results would be greatly appreciated
<< (I believe this is due to the C6 nerve root being compressed.) >>
Yes, it's pretty much textbook C6 radiculopathy. Of course, that means that your right C5-6 FORAMEN is being impinged upon, which the radiologist doesn't mention, and he should have. Still, such a large disk protrusion is likely to affect at least one of the foramina.
How did he do the test for Hoffman's?
I hope that "cage" works will for you. That is an innovation from after my day. Interesting that he says no collar. My surgeon sixteen years ago said I didn't need one, either, but I could wear it if I felt better. Last year, when I was exploring another ACDF, the surgeon said "hard collar for two months, and no driving". But then, I decided he probably wasn't all that good a surgeon, so maybe his patients need more post-op reinforcement
Anyway, it is my opinion (completely amateur and only slightly educated, of course) that you are doing the right thing, and will be glad you did.
The Following User Says Thank You to WebDozer For This Useful Post: dcoday (07-08-2012)
For the Hoffman's he flicked my middle and possible ring finger (don't remember) and there was some type of reflex in my index finger and thumb. To be honest at the time i didn't know what he was doing. He told me once he was done with the exam what his findings were.
Thank you so much again. I sincerely appreciate your help.
Dawn-I also had severe spinal cord compression and after the surgery my problems in my hands were better in recovery. I have 2 PEEK interbody cages packed with demineralized bone matrix and bone dust from my surgery and titanium plate and screws. Like I said, it's my 6 month anniversary and most of my problems are gone. I do have some weakness and pain in my upper arms if I stay in one position too long though.
The main thing is the pain in the neck-that awful stabbing feeling. That's going to go away right after the surgery.
Last edited by Realhousewife; 07-10-2012 at 08:48 PM.