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  • Seeking Advice on Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

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    Old 02-22-2006, 02:43 PM   #1
    ejsf
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    Seeking Advice on Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    Hi

    This is my first posting to this (or any) bulletin board community, and I would really value some input from people who have undergone posterior cervical foraminotomy or know something about it. There doesn't seem to be an active thread on this, but I've read through some older threads and have found mixed reviews of the procedure.

    I've been experiencing symptons for about 8 weeks. Initially, I experienced severe neck pain and right arm/thumb weakness and numbness. I've been seeing a chiropractor for about 6 weeks, and the neck pain has moderated to a tolerable level, but the arm and thumb weakness/numbness remains unchanged.

    I recently had an MRI which confirmed that I have a c5/c6 disc herniation and a bulge at c6/c7. I have seen a NS who recommended PCF for the c5/c6 disc herniation. He positioned the procedure as low-invasive, with a quick recovery time, and a very high success rate.

    The explanation I got from the NS made it sound very simple. He would just make a 1 inch incision, shave a small section of bone, bypass the nerve, and remove the herniated portion of the disc (10-15% of the disc) at c5/c6. There are no extenuating circumstances like prior anterior surgeries, fusions, or bone spurs - all of which seem to have seriously complicated the success of the PCF in other accounts that I have read.

    I'm inclined to go the PDF route, but am still reluctant to opt for surgery too quickly. The prospect of a full or near-full recovery within weeks is awful tempting. I understand that a lot of progress can be made through non-surgical methods, but from all I've learned this process can take months/years with an uncertain likelihood of success.

    Before I make a decision, I'd value input from people who have undergone the procedure. Specifically, I'd like to know about long term effects - both positive and negative:

    1. What, if any, impact was there on neck stability immediately and over time?
    2. Was build up of scar tissue an issue?
    3. What was the recovery time? (I'm concerned about having neck muscles cut.)
    4. What, if any, post-operative therapies are recommended?
    5. Any other related advice is also greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance for your willingness to read this posting and take an interest in my situation.

    Eric

     
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    Old 02-23-2006, 08:23 PM   #2
    sunshine221
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    Eric

    I had a cervical laminectomy which is similar as far as the cut muscles in the back. The first few days I was surprised at how I couldn't do anything upper body - my husband had to help dress and shower me the first week or so. Things improved fairly quick (might want to read my older posts).

    Can't answer on the neck stability - doc did mention this, not sure what it means. Almost 6 months out I have more good days than bad - but I do get random numbness and tremors and I assume that's the "instability"

    I've done some PT - but at this point I'm doing a fairly "rigerous" exercise routine on my own -- walking as much as possible, swimming, Curves (a woman's workout), stationary bike and treadmill as well as some weightlifting.

    I've learned to watch my posture. I bought a new chair for work and rearranged some things, etc.

    Good luck to you.

    Gloria

     
    Old 02-26-2006, 12:51 PM   #3
    ejsf
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    Thanks for your reply to my inquiry, Gloria.

    I'm glad to hear that your recovery time was fairly quick after your cervical laminectomy and that you're having more good days than bad days now.

    Most encouraging, though, is to hear that you've returned to a rigorous exercise routine. I'm a very active/athletic person and plan to continue to be once I've overcome this setback.

    I'm still undecided about surgery, but I'll thankfully take your comments into account as I decide.

    Best of luck on your continued improvement.
    Eric

     
    Old 04-14-2006, 08:59 PM   #4
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    Eric:

    Just wondering what your decision had been after the post.... The doctor I've been referred to is a proponent of the posterior cervical foraminotomy and I see him next week.
    __________________
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

     
    Old 04-15-2006, 12:17 PM   #5
    ThoreauFan
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ejsf
    I recently had an MRI which confirmed that I have a c5/c6 disc herniation and a bulge at c6/c7. I have seen a NS who recommended PCF for the c5/c6 disc herniation. He positioned the procedure as low-invasive, with a quick recovery time, and a very high success rate.

    I'm inclined to go the PDF route, but am still reluctant to opt for surgery too quickly. The prospect of a full or near-full recovery within weeks is awful tempting. I understand that a lot of progress can be made through non-surgical methods, but from all I've learned this process can take months/years with an uncertain likelihood of success.

    Eric
    Eric, there is one issue in particular that doesn't get much mention here.

    The aging process cannot be stopped. The spine (the discs, in particular) begins degenerating surprisingly early in life - let's say, 30, in very general terms. A COMPLETELY succesful surgical solution does not mean that you go back to square one. Life will continue, and your body will continue to age. And that includes your back, spine, bones, and discs.

    My surgery was unrelated to your situation (C5-C7 fusion with instrumentation), but I fully expect to endure more spinal surgeries in my future. Apparently, many people perceive treatment for such conditions as being equivalent to having an appendectomy - meaning, it's never an issue again. That just ain't how it works.

    A "full recovery" can and often does mean facing future issues.

    Irrespective of your choice of treatment, move forward with realistic expectations.

    Last edited by funny4mony; 04-15-2006 at 12:21 PM.

     
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