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  • Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

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    Old 08-18-2005, 12:06 PM   #1
    speli
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    Question Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    Hi all,

    One more questions to you ACDF experts out here:
    My left index finger, which was numb before the surgery, is still numb.
    Did anybody have a similar feeling? Did it come back? If so, how long did it take?
    I am nervous about my feeling not returning at all...!
    Thanks,
    Elke

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    Old 08-18-2005, 12:41 PM   #2
    rgsmoose
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    Re: Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    I had numbness in both hands prior to my surgeries, but it may be different than yours as my major problem was myelopathy. I also had radiculopathy, mostly in my right arm and hand. I did get a lot of the feeling back after the surgeries, but it did take a while - six months or so. It continues to get better then reaches a plateau where it just seems to stay.

    As I and many other people on this board have said, everybody is different. You can't compare what happened to one person and expect the same with another. In general, though, I've been told that nerves regenerate at the rate of one centimeter per month - that's if they are going to regenerate at all. It's a long process and much depends on how long and how badly the nerve was compressed. Sometimes it may not ever regenerate.

    Have patience. I know it's difficult, but it's the only thing you can do - wait and then wait some more. Good luck.

     
    Old 08-18-2005, 06:45 PM   #3
    rob_zzz
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    Re: Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    rgsmoose,

    I'm curious - how long did you have myelopathy for before the surgery, did you have leg symptoms, and did the leg symptoms improve after the surgery?

    I've got a lot of neurological things going on in my legs as a result of herniated disc in my neck, including some feelings of weakness and numbness on and off and am wondering if this stuff improves after surgery.

    thanks,
    Rob

     
    Old 08-19-2005, 05:20 AM   #4
    rgsmoose
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    Re: Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    rob_zzz -

    I don't have a good way of determining exactly what the myelopathy symptoms were, or are. I've had back problems most of my life. I've got a congenitally small spinal canal the entire length of the spine. As I have aged (now 57), the arthritis and DDD have manifested themselves in different places. There has been a slow progression of muscle loss in my legs for a long time. However, figuring out what's causing it is difficult. My first spine surgery was lumbar, due to DDD, herniated disks and central canal stenosis. Although the major complaint at that time was pain in my right leg, there was a definite loss of strength in both legs. During a surgical re-check, I asked about the increasing loss of muscle tone in my right arm. That led to an MRI and then the first of my cervical surgeries, due to myelopathy as well as radiculopathy.

    I currently still have problems with my legs (as well as my arms and hands) - loss of strength, numbness, clumsiness, etc. It's just something I've lived with for a large part of my life and have gotten used to. If I were to ask one of my surgeons about it, he would say he doesn't know where the root of the problem is - it could be cervical or lumbar. He would only get serious about finding it if we were going to do something about it, and I certainly am not looking for any more surgery. If it gets to the point of seriously interfering with my lifestyle I suppose I'll have to look into it. It's just not something I want to do unless I absolutely have to.

    As for as your specific question - does it improve after surgery? In my case, I had other issues show up after the lumbar surgery. I have foot drop now when I didn't have it before the surgery. But the major leg pain I had went away. I'd say I didn't notice any change with my legs after the cervical surgeries, which is what I was told to expect. Both the ortho and neuro surgeons told me (time and time again) that the goal of the surgery for myelopathy was to stop the progression of the disease. If any improvement in neurological symptoms came of it, so much the better. But it's icing on the cake and not to be expected. Again, it all depends on what the specific cause is, whether the problem is completely cleared up with the surgery, and how long and how badly the nerve(s) were compressed prior to the surgery. Myelopathy is a very serious condition and not many people see much improvement after decompression surgery. I'd say I fall into that category. I wish I could give you something better, but that's what it's been like for me. Maybe you'll be the exception and will see vast improvement.

     
    Old 08-19-2005, 10:19 AM   #5
    wimpette
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    Re: Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    I also had some numbness and weakness and was told that it might take some time for the numbness to resolve, the longer the duration of the numbness the longer it would take to resolve. I was also told that it might not come back completely. Mine mostly resolved, before it got better I experienced a severe burning sensation in that area which is part of the nerve healing process. I still have a small area of decreased sensation but much better than it was pre op and certainly something I can live with. Unfortunately these things take time so take it slowly and don't rush your recuperation.
    W

    Last edited by wimpette; 08-19-2005 at 10:19 AM.

     
    Old 08-19-2005, 02:02 PM   #6
    speli
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    Re: Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    Thanks for your reply, and I love your nick name ;-) - that's totally me!
    I am praying the sensation in my finger returns...that would be a tough one to live with. My problems started in November, so hopefully the damage isn't too old to heal.
    Thanks again! Feeling progressively better - trying to wean myself off of Vicodin today, but experiencing headaches big time, even while taking Tylenol Extra Strength x2.

     
    Old 08-19-2005, 07:41 PM   #7
    rob_zzz
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    Re: Numbness Remains in Finger after ACDF

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rgsmoose
    rob_zzz -

    I don't have a good way of determining exactly what the myelopathy symptoms were, or are. I've had back problems most of my life. I've got a congenitally small spinal canal the entire length of the spine. As I have aged (now 57), the arthritis and DDD have manifested themselves in different places. There has been a slow progression of muscle loss in my legs for a long time. However, figuring out what's causing it is difficult. My first spine surgery was lumbar, due to DDD, herniated disks and central canal stenosis. Although the major complaint at that time was pain in my right leg, there was a definite loss of strength in both legs. During a surgical re-check, I asked about the increasing loss of muscle tone in my right arm. That led to an MRI and then the first of my cervical surgeries, due to myelopathy as well as radiculopathy.

    I currently still have problems with my legs (as well as my arms and hands) - loss of strength, numbness, clumsiness, etc. It's just something I've lived with for a large part of my life and have gotten used to. If I were to ask one of my surgeons about it, he would say he doesn't know where the root of the problem is - it could be cervical or lumbar. He would only get serious about finding it if we were going to do something about it, and I certainly am not looking for any more surgery. If it gets to the point of seriously interfering with my lifestyle I suppose I'll have to look into it. It's just not something I want to do unless I absolutely have to.

    As for as your specific question - does it improve after surgery? In my case, I had other issues show up after the lumbar surgery. I have foot drop now when I didn't have it before the surgery. But the major leg pain I had went away. I'd say I didn't notice any change with my legs after the cervical surgeries, which is what I was told to expect. Both the ortho and neuro surgeons told me (time and time again) that the goal of the surgery for myelopathy was to stop the progression of the disease. If any improvement in neurological symptoms came of it, so much the better. But it's icing on the cake and not to be expected. Again, it all depends on what the specific cause is, whether the problem is completely cleared up with the surgery, and how long and how badly the nerve(s) were compressed prior to the surgery. Myelopathy is a very serious condition and not many people see much improvement after decompression surgery. I'd say I fall into that category. I wish I could give you something better, but that's what it's been like for me. Maybe you'll be the exception and will see vast improvement.
    rgsmoose - thanks for the long reply - it sounds like you've been through a lot.

    I'm lucky my symptoms are mild, but I've read a lot about myelopathy that says similar stuff about the improvement - its mainly about stopping progression - and you seem to be confirming this (unfortunately ;-) )

    Rob.

     
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