My amateur's guess would be that your need for surgery would depend on how bad your symptoms are. You haven't mentioned symptoms, although you must have them or you would not have gotten an MRI.
You seem to have three bulging disks, two of which have herniated, which means that the tough outer layer of the disk has broken and the soft inner material has begun to spill out. At the C6-7 level, that soft inner material has gotten into the spinal canal and has dropped down 7mm (1/4 inch). At C5-6 and C6-7, the radiologist does not say that the cord flattening is "subtle", so I guess we could infer that it's worse than subtle. Still, he only calls it "flattening", not "narrowing", "compressing" or "indenting".
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Thank you for your quick response! My symptoms are numbness and tingling on left side of neck, mainly underneath Lt shoulder blade (intense), Lt shoulder, Lt arm, and Lt hand. I have alot of pain on that side, I drop alot of things such as dishes ( I have learned to buy plastic vs the glass lol). As an example for numbness and pain, the best way to put it would be when ur leg or foot goes alseep and u try to move it around to wake it up well.....that is exactly what I feel *** the time. I notice on the top of the MRI it said I have spinal stenosis and low lying tonsils too?? I have been like this for a while...for about a year. So the 7mm that is "spilled out"....what kind of surgery would be needed? And as for the last line you wrote, there is no mentioning of "narrowing", "compressing" or "indenting" just flattening. Does that mean that I should not be feeling the intense pain and numbing?
i know what you are going through, i have had 2 fusions (ANTERIOR) c-2 to c-4 then c-2 to c-6, now 1 & 7 are going, pain is unbelievable, it started with a cord compression, my neuro said, " it probably will not relieve the pain, but it needs to be fused, to prevent cord damage, which can be permanent", please be very careful about opinions, research everything, i have been living in high pain levels for over 8 years, i wish you the best possible recovery, the road your on, i have traveled, i would be happy to answer any questions you may have about my case, i cannot give you advise, but i can tell you where i have been, God Bless
When you say the feeling is exactly like when your foot is asleep, it makes me wonder. I guess you could say those are nerve symptoms, as a foot 'being asleep" is actually the feeling of the foot waking up.
Actually, I really hesitate to say more based on your MRI, because that is an AWFUL report. He needs about three times as much detail. Also, he said nothing about the foramina (where the peripheral nerves leave the spinal cord to go down into your arms).
As far as I know, the operation for a disk herniation like yours would be an ACDF (fusion), where the disk is removed.
your symptoms sounds familiar, mine felt like a white hot wire hanger running through my neck, shoulders, arms and hands, a feeling of my nerves are being ripped out of effected areas, numbness and very clumsy hand coordination, fingers could not preform the simple thumb to fingers exercise, deep aching and numbness in legs and feet, atrophy in wrists, very unstable gait , hang in there, you will need to keep a positive attitude, easier said than done, but at least there are great forums like Healthboards to find someone to relate too, i wish i would have found this forum long time ago, Best wishes