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Old 03-13-2008, 06:57 AM   #10
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA
Posts: 4
Citadel72 HB User
Re: before you have fusion surgery!

Originally Posted by Jeff59 View Post
Greetings Everyone:

I was in a MVA 10-07-2007. After months of Chropractic care and PT and Massage I still have constant numbness in my left forearm, hand and thumb/index finger. My right arm is typically numb from the shoulder down upon waking then goes away. Sometimes my left leg goes numb from sitting at the computer from the hip down. Aside from neck injuries I ripped tendons in my left thumb and dislocated my lunate. I have found out that I also have Carpul Tunnel in both hands.

I finally had an MRI and am consulting with both a Neurologist as well as a MicroNeuroSurgeon. I did not respond to steroid treatment and was told that if I want to get out of misery that surgery is the way to do this. They want to do an ACDF C3-C4-C5.

I have spent many hours reading posts on this forum and not found any success stories. I found myself becoming very discouraged and now am more frightened about surgery than ever. I don't want to be improper with regard to rules on posting but I also looked at the LSI website in Tampa and read the testimonials and became more encouraged or hopeful that they might offer something different. Can anyone comment on ACDF's that have gone well and or The Laser Spine Institute in Tampa?

I didn’t have an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) done, but I had posterior endoscopic laser surgery on my neck (C3-C4 discs) at the Laser Spine Institute in July 2006. And it was hugely successful, much to my delight.

When I was 30, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (arthritis of the spine). It started in my sacroiliac joints and began its ascent up my spine with devastating results. “Ankylosing” means to unite or grow together, as the bones of a joint or a vertebra become one with surrounding bones. Soon I couldn’t turn my hips or flex my back and the stiffness turned to constantly increasing pain, replete with an electrical burning sensation whenever I moved too sharply or quickly. Rheumatologists, neurologists, internists and sports medicine doctors examined me and conducted a battery of tests on me with the same prescribed regimen of medical treatment --- multiple NSAIDs, analgesic steroids, etc. I adapted to the limitations. The disease continued on its merry way largely unaffected by the efforts to stop or hinder its progress. When it reached my neck, it turned my C-3 and C-4 vertebrae into one fused vertebra, essentially a C-3/4, and eventually locked up my neck so that I had about 10 degrees of movement left and right, and no movement at all up and down unless I was willing to undergo unspeakable pain forcing it. I adapted. With each advance on my body, I adapted. I adapted to everything that AS could throw at me … until the pain in my neck became so severe that I could not sleep without heavy medication for the pain, heavy medication for the burning sensations that ran down my arms and legs and the numbness in my hands and feet, and heavy medication to induce sleep due to the rigidity of my joints and muscles. I became a prisoner to the narcotics that spared me the agony that wracked my body from top to bottom night and day. It was a struggle to concentrate on my work or focus on anything with any clarity for any considerable length of time. I enjoyed nothing and no one enjoyed me. The alternative was worse. Going to the restroom was a chore, putting on my socks and shoes was a chore, stooping down to get into my car was a chore, everything I had always taken for granted was a strenuously painful, dreadful CHORE.

In July 2006, I walked into the impressive surgical headquarters of the Laser Spine Institute and met with Drs. Perry, Hamburg and St. Louis for the third time prior to surgery. They were warm, attentive and reassuring. I was treated like royalty. I was assigned a young nurse, remarkably knowledgeable and experienced, who watched over me as if I were kin and never left my side until I was prepped for surgery 45 minutes later. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Hamburg, took over and explained every detail of every step that was to ensue from that point forward. He administered a light sedation (Versed) to keep me calm through the surgery and a local anesthetic at the spot where Dr. St. Louis would make the small incision to enter my neck. I was completely awake and coherent. Dr. St. Louis entered the surgical theatre, greeted me and warmly detailed what was to transpire during the procedure. They laid me face down on a comfy table with a place cut out for my face and Dr. St. Louis began the surgery. Forty minutes later, it was all over and the nurse was back with an orderly in tow and I was being escorted to recovery. Again, she never left my side, constantly attending to my every wish, fear and need. After 45 minutes of recovery, I was rechecked by Drs. Perry, Hamburg and St. Louis, given scripts for medicine and released until the following morning. Throughout it all, I was completely awake and fully cognizant of everything that is going on around me and being done to me … all in all, a very pleasant experience.

I had the prescriptions for pain medication filled, but there was no pain and so I didn’t take any and I was fine … better than fine, I was ecstatic. My 80-year old mother, my brother, his wife and I went out to eat at a posh restaurant and I enjoyed the best evening I could remember in years. I awoke the next morning feeling great and I could move my neck again like I did when I was 30 years younger. I giggled in relief and broke into gales of grateful laughter as I entered LSI for my recheck later than morning. The entire LSI workforce broke into applause and it was sweet to the ear. The physical therapist examined me and put me through some flexibility exercises and I could easily manage all of them without pain or restrictions.

Twenty months later, I am still pain-free and symptom-free. I have total flexibility and no trouble completing tasks that require physical labor and dexterity. It cost $29,500, of which 3/5 were paid by my insurance. It was worth every penny to me … to get my mobility back ... my quality of life. I am free. I AM FREE. There is no more pain, no more drugs to take. After 27 years of not being able to go a single day without horrendous pain, limited to where I could go and how long I could stay there … watching my family suffer along with me … putting constraints on their lives and their freedom, we now go anywhere we want or at least anywhere we can afford.

I wholeheartedly recommend and endorse the Laser Spine Institute to anyone needing back or neck pain relief. LSI enjoys prestige worldwide as a class surgical center, providing effective alternatives to open-body surgery.

-- Citadel72