Hi all. I am sitting here thinking and just was looking for some feedback.
First of all I have had several spine surgeries to both the cervical/thoracic and lumbar regions.
I have had stenosis in the neck and then kyphosis which required Harrington Rods from C3 to T4 or so.
My current issues in the neck is that there are bone spurs; and I have myelomalacia; focal cord atrophy in the C4 to C6/7 levels. My surgeon is afraid to perform surgery on me for I have other healts risks and the procedure it self is complicated.
But in an MRI that was done in the past few weeks it also stated that there was "severe loss of disc height" at C6/7 level.
I am about to go thru an Intrathecal Pain Pump to be placed at T-10 and help my mid-lower back.
What I was thinking is if there is severe loss of disc height what are the options.
Has anyone ever had or know anything about "DISC IMPLANTS." When is it used? How successful are they?
If I have severe loss of disc height then what will happen if NOTHING is done.
Currently in the US we are restricted to 1 artificial disk in the cervical area. You have Harrington rods which attach to the sides of your spine to hold the spine in proper alignment so you aren't fused...are you? Do you know?
If not, you may be able to get an ADR(artificial disk replacement) except that you might already have screws in C6-7 from the Harrington rods. And if you are fusing from the Harrington rods, that would exclude you. You'd be better off with an anterior ACDF to fuse C6and 7 together with plates.
Usually, ADR's are only used when there is no other pathology then 1 bad disk.
When I had the surgery for Kyphosis back in 2000, it was a two part surgery. The first part was done posteriorly and Harrington Rods were place from C3 to about the T4 or 5 level.
The second part of the surgery was done from the anterior postion. There was a fusion at 2 or 3 levels. I don't have the report in front of me. But it was probably C3/4 C 5/6 levels. I think the lost disc height is either at that level or C6/7.
So since I was fused in that area or close to it. What happens to the level where there is loss of disc height? Isnt that a complicatoin for me to have loss of disc height?
If you were indeed fused from C3 to C6 but the C6-7 level was not fused, it would make sense that your disk has now deteriorated. Large fusions do that...they rock on the disk below with greater force than just a single vertebra would. But that does not mean you are a viable candidate for an ADR. Everyone I've known who has gotten one has had only 1 area that needed one with no previous surgery. The fact is, the above fusion would destroy the ADR just as fast(if not faster) than it has destroyed what nature gave you.
I think what the doc is trying to tell you is that you need your fusion extended to include C6-7 and maybe even longer. That is the only way to restore the disk height....a bone graft is placed in the disk space and then the 2 vertebrae are fused together. I'm waiting to see if I need a similar procedure to extend my fusion beyond T1. It appears I am destroying the disk below my fusion as well(C3 to T1)
I am not sure if this will clarify what was done to my cervical/thoracic spine, but here is what was in the MRI report done about 3 weeks ago.
"Post anterior crvical fusion from C3-5 as well as posterior cervicothoracic fusion with stabilizing rods and bilateral anchoring at C4; C5 & C6. Posterior elements have been resected from C3-C7."
"There is severe disc space loss at C6-7. C2-3 and C7-T1 disc spaces are normal. Remaining disc spaces are fused."
Based on the above I am not sure what can be done.
I am not thinking clearly.
Part of the problem is that the myelomalacia and focal cord atrophy at C6-7 has been there. My surgeon doesnt want to tough me because it would require going thru the sternum which he felt would be drastic. And I do have other health factors that concern him....diabetes; congenital absent left kidney and kidney disease of the right.
The loss of disc height I dont believe was on the prior report and there was no mention of bone spurs.
I see the surgeon in 2 weeks and will see what he says. My gut instinct is that he still wont want to touch me.
2 things stick out with regard to your C6-7 disk problem. 1st....you have screws in C6 from the Harrington rods( bi-lateral anchors from stabilizing rods) and you've had posterior resections from C3 to C7....laminectomies?
The screws alone would disqualify you for ADRs but so would the laminectomies.
I don't know. It almost sounds like you need someone to go in there and re-do everything...but that's sometimes impossible after so long a time. You can end up doing way more harm than good trying to remove old rods and screws to reach a new problem.
I know I've had extensive surgeries. The cervical surgery in 2000 was originally supposed to be a 1 day surgery that lasted 6-8 hours. It turned out to be a 2 day surgery that lasted 12 hours. So what was done on me extensive.
I may be out of options My surgeon is afraid to touch me for varous reasons. that worries me in that my arms are getting weak. Dont know what the future holds for me.