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Bionic neck 01-19-2013 10:53 AM

Newbie needs help
Hi All,

First time posting. I have had two prior neck surgeries; prior interbody spacer at C3-C4 with
posterior bars and screws at C3-C4.
also, anterior fusion extending from C4 through C7

I had new symptoms and had an MRI done with the following findings;
At the C6-7 level, there is approximately 3 mm broad-based posterior disc
ossify complex resulting in mild degree of central canal narrowing. There is no
cord signal abnormality or cord compression. Neural foramina are patent

At the C7-T1 level, there is a right paracentral broad-based extruded disc
measuring 5 to 6 mm AP dimension and 7 to 8 mm craniocaudal. Some of the disc
extends across midline into the left paracentral region which results in severe
right lateral recess narrowing and moderate to severe right neural foraminal
narrowing. There is uncovertebral hypertrophy resulting in mild left neural
foraminal narrowing at this level. No specific cord signal abnormality is seen
at this level.


1. There is an extruded right paracentral disc at C7-T1 measuring 5 to 6 mm AP
dimension and 7 to 8 mm craniocaudal detailed above resulting in severe right
lateral recess narrowing and moderate to severe right neural foraminal stenosis.

2. Primarily osteophyte is seen at the C5-C6 level measuring 6 mm along the
left paracentral region. There is anterior indentation of the cord at this
level with moderate central and left lateral recess stenosis. No cord signal
abnormality is present.

I am experienceing some severe nerve pain down the back of my right arm (predominate arm) extending down to my fingers, pinkie, ring and middle finger. There is numbness and weakness in my hand. Prickly and tingleling.

I haven't been able to sleep in a bed for over a month. I am an artist and haven't been able to paint either. My Ortho wants to do surgery. Posterior fusion at c7-T1 with donor bone.

My pain says do it, but my mind says, are you sure??? Any imput or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)

pebblebeach3 01-19-2013 01:25 PM

Re: Newbie needs help
I saw your post.

First here is my surgical history:

-- 1994 lumbar surgery herniated discs;
-- 1995 cervical surgery for stenosis;
-- 1997 lumbar surgery with Harrington Rods;
-- 2000 cervical surgery for kyphosis w/Harrington rods C3 to T4
-- 2006 Spinal Cord Stimulator for pain;
-- 2011 Spina Cord stimulator removed;
-- 2012 Trial Intrathecal pain pump -- morphine
-- 2013 PERMANENT Intrathecal Pain pump implanted.

Symptoms now:

-- weaness in the arms; radiating pain into fingers; neuropathy of the legs; severe nerve damage in nck/lumbar area; arthritis
-- other issues: focal cord atrophy in neck; myelomalaica; focal cord atrophy C4-7; loss of disc height.

I note that you have stenosis in the neck. This concerns me. If pressure isnt taken off the nerves then there is risk of permanent nerve damage.

I assume therpy/physical and medication has been tried. If all else has failed then I dont see what other options there are for you but surgery. Yes it is your choice. Sounds like the pain is severe enough since you said the pain is severe enough for srugery to be done.

But you have to be ready MENTALLY as well to proceed sith the surgry. Have you obtained a 2nd or 3rd opinion? I would recommend it if you need help in deciding. And make sure that your doctors are trained in spine surgery. I would recommend either a neurosurgeon or orthopedist.

I think beyond the additiional opinion you need to do a lot of soul searching to find out what the right answer is for YOU. Good luck.

Bionic neck 01-19-2013 01:33 PM

Re: Newbie needs help
Hi PebbleBeach,

Thanks so much for your opinion. It helps just knowing I am not alone out here in painville. I am so sorry for all the issues you are dealing with. I will keep you in prayer.

I am going to n Ortho. I have had a second opinion. Both say that they are concerned about permanent nerve damage. I know you are right, that I just have to make sure my head is in the right place. As by your history I know that you have experienced [B][I]knowing too much[/I][/B] what a long road recovery can be.

My concern is where does it end? I already have severe problems in L5-S1 in my lumbar plus all my prior neck stuff. I fear I will end up fusing my whole spine!!!

Sorry for the whining, and again I really appreciate your feedback. Hope you find the relief you need.:angel:

pebblebeach3 01-20-2013 11:02 PM

Re: Newbie needs help

First of all glad if I can be of any help. For those that post here, we are all in the same boat and need to share our experiences to know that you are NOT alone. And please don't think that you are "whining." We all need an outlet to tell others what we are going thru and know that someout out there understands our "pain."

One thing you said in your post that struck me is that you asked "where does it all end?" I wish I had an answer for you. Looking back at my own history which started in 1988 I thought ok I had surgery I am fine. Then came the 2nd surgery. Then the next; then the next. I never ever thought it would go on this long, but for me it is now the way of life for me.

You said you have a great doctor. That is important that you have confidence in him/her and that you feel the ability to communcate effectively with your medical team.

You asked if I have nerve damage and my range of motion. I do have severe nerve damage which was confirmed from an EMG. I cant say whether the damage was from the srugery or just something that occurred over time from years and years of spine issues. Of all the surgeries that I have had I really can NOT complain about my surgeons and what they did to me. I think my surgical team and it has changed over the years has been a great qualified medical team.

As to my range of motion. I have Harrington Rods in the cervical-thoracic spine which goes from C3 to T4 and then in the lumbar spine from L2 down to the iliace crest/hip regioin. So it is because of the Harrington Rods that there is range of motion issues. I find it most difficult when I am driving and don't come to a normal "T" intersection and have to turn a little bit more to see if the intersection is clear.

I think the worst surgery I went thru was my cervical surgery for "Kyphosis." First I cant say if recovery time is more or less if they go thru muscle. That I don't know. But on this surgery it was originally supplosed to be a 1 (one) day surgery of about 6-8 hours. Didn't work out that way. They first wen thru the posterior to put in the Harrington Rods. That alone was 8 hours. My surgeon didn't want to keep me under anesthesia any longer so they stopped the surgery.

The 2nd part of the surgery was done the following week for the anterior position to do the fusion from C3/4 toC4/5 I think that was the levels. That was another 4 hours of surgery.

Then I had to wear a cervical collar for fout (4) months. I had to wear it 24/7 for the longest time. Then at one point I was allowed to take the collar off for an hour here and there. The collar really drove me up the wall at one point. First trying to sleep with the collar was an extreme problem. Then wearing the collar when the summer began and the heat and itching started just added to my frustrations.

I still have ongoing spine issues. An EMG showed severe nerve damage in the neck/lumbar region; severe arthritis and peripheral neuropathy probably in part due to my spine issues and in part due to my diabetes.

My neck in an MRI that was done in December of 2012 showed "myelomalacia" which is damage caused by traum and lack of blood supply; it showed cord atrophy; bone spurs and loss of disc height. This has shown in prior studies as well.

Again you asked when dioes it all end? Wish I knew. My neurosurgeon is afarid to tocuh me surgically because the surgery itself would be a nightmare of a surgery to do. Plus the added risk of surgery on me because of my diabetes and the fact that I am in kidney failure (plus I was born with 1 kidney) really adds to the risks of surgery.

I have had chronic pain for years. January 11, 2013 to help with the pain in the mid back/low back I had an Intrathecal Pain Pump implanted in my spine. It is a combination of medications: Dilaudid and Bupivacaine. Which quite honestly is helping a great deal. Still have neck pain though. As to where it ends. Doubt that it ever will.

Just trying to survive at this point and get back some of what my life was like before all the spine issues started.

Just remember you are not alone, its great to come here vent; get some feedback as to what others have been thru.

Keep us posted on how you are doing. Be well.

Bionic neck 01-21-2013 09:26 AM

Re: Newbie needs help
Wow Pebble,

What challenges you have faced. God Bless you!! I cannot begin to fathom how much you are dealing with. Thank you so much for sharing, it makes what I am dealing with look so small in comparison.

I pray that you find the relief and answers you need and deserve. I really appreciate your participation on this board as it has touched me and I am sure many others. That you make the time to help others through this forum is truly a testimony of your wonderful strength of spirit.

Please keep me updated on your progress. My surgery is scheduled for next Monday. I will post afterward as to how it went.

pebblebeach3 01-21-2013 09:38 AM

Re: Newbie needs help

I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming surgery. Go into knowing that you will have challenging moments in your recovery but knowing that in the long run you will make it thru the surgery. Yes get your mind set on being positive. I truely believe that there is a BODY - MIND - SPIRITUAL connection. All three work together and you will get thru the surgery and your recovery time. Keep us posted.

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