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  • HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

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    Old 10-14-2006, 10:48 PM   #1
    lwaldorf
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    Question HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    Hi, i am new to this board and am looking for others that have experienced my same problem. I had an ACDF in July 2004 on C6-C& due to the burning in my neck, right arm, wrist and fingers. the first 4 weeks of recovery time was difficult - hard to swallow, bathe etc. i started physical therapy at that time and improved within another 4 weeks to go back to work. however, my neurosurgeon failed to mention that the titanium zephyr plate put additional stress on my cervical column which could lead to further disc herniation above and below the fusion. in march of 2005, i had burning from my neck down the right arm, wrist and fingers. did another MRI to find out that i had spinal cord compression due to the disc right above being herniated. the neuro-surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian in NY recommneded a PCD to correct the problem. i went to john hopkins in baltimore, mount sainai in NY and Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut to provided me with different surgical approaches. 2 wanted to do another ACDF, taking out the plate and making a 3 vertabrae fusion. 1 of the 2 also wanted to have a orthopedic surgeon and a ENT surgeon to assist him. he also wanted to do a PCD at the same time. i ran into a study that stated that 5% of the ACDF patients need 2 or more surgeries. at this point, i have been doing physical therapy for 2 years - 2 to 3 times a week, take neurontin, amatryptlin, lunesta and sometimes percoset and valium. i am out on disability leave from my job and it doesn't appear that i am recovering. i can't believe this is happening to me when i have a desk job as a computer project manager. i am 49 years old and can't beleive that my job life is over....any readers advice would be appreciated. thank you, larry

     
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    Old 10-14-2006, 11:34 PM   #2
    loveshinesthru
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    what is pcd? also not familiar with acdf ?

     
    Old 10-15-2006, 07:41 PM   #3
    Ramsfan
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    Larry,

    Unfortunately I am one of the 5% who has had 3 ACDF. From 1995 until 2004 I've had 3 surgeries and have been fused from C3 through C7. I have been able to continue working (I also have a desk job working in Human Resources. Fortunately for me my aches and pains are sporadic and I can usually tolerate getting by with extra strength excedrin. My physical activities have pretty much been eliminated for years. My biggest problem is sleeping comfortably. I can't remember the last time I've had a restful night's sleep. I am also 49. Physical therapy helped briefly prior to my last surgery. I haven't had therapy since. I've been amazed at the number of people who I come across that have had ACDF. We all compare battle wounds but none of us has any answers.

    Frank

     
    Old 10-15-2006, 08:21 PM   #4
    SpineAZ
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    I had a C5-C7 ACDF in May of this year after 3 years of pain. My orthopedic spine surgeon said that based on my age (39) it is very possible the next level up or down may need to be fused or perhaps have an artificial disc in the future. Knowing now what I've been through, if any symptoms arrise I will try Epidural Steroid Injections and if they don't work I'll be willing to give more surgery a try. I'd rather have the surgery and alleviate the symptoms than live through the agony. Would surgery allow you to return to work? Or at least improve your symptoms? If you have a physical job then yes, cervical disc problems may prevent you from being able to return to work. But, having less pain may make it easier to adjust to that.

    Unrelated, in a way, but I have a friend who recently had a C4-T1 fusion due to Chiari Malformation. Even with all those plates and screws she said she's far better off with the more limited range of motion now that the majority of her symptoms have been alleviated.

    Karin
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    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 10-16-2006, 06:54 AM   #5
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    sorry for what you are having to go thru Larry,i know how much it all really sucks.i am just wondering tho about the burning you are having?has this been your only actual symptom all this time or was there also tingling,numbness pain in certain fingers or anywhere else?was there any hypersensitivity on the outside of your skin or was that pretty 'normal"?marcia
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    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 10-16-2006, 12:08 PM   #6
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    Hi Larry, spine problems are a bummer. I am in the 5% if that is the number, ACDF for C4-6 in 12/2004 and C6-7 in 2006. I am still having problems and facing permanent lifestyle changes and work disability. I had a wonderful career in technology. 2 surgeries later, I still can't physically handle any of it. I get injections and take pain meds, i limit my activity to keep somewhat "stable" in pain management. PT only aggravates my condition.

    My symptoms are better after the surgeries, but I am not the same person I was before surgery. So facing the question do you try for another surgery to see if you can further improve or are you the best you are going to get? HARD QUESTION! I guess we all have to figure out at what point do we stop trying to get back to "where we were" . Some people get 100% permanent recovery. Others have more serious problems and won't ever be the same. You could get 100% relief, or you could improve another x% more, you could stay the same, or get worse (rarer). You are still young, ask yourself, are you willing to remain like this or would you rather try the surgery and see if you can get more back? This is a serious discussion with the docs about where they think you fit on the recoverability scale and if there is any risk if you do not proceed with a surgery.

    GOod luck and keep in touch with people on the board, there is lots of good experience here.

     
    Old 10-16-2006, 07:29 PM   #7
    loveshinesthru
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by feelbad
    sorry for what you are having to go thru Larry,i know how much it all really sucks.i am just wondering tho about the burning you are having?has this been your only actual symptom all this time or was there also tingling,numbness pain in certain fingers or anywhere else?was there any hypersensitivity on the outside of your skin or was that pretty 'normal"?marcia
    marcia what is this hypersensitivity youre talking about? i am due to go in for an acdf myself on the 24th. for a couple weeks now my lower back seems to be hypersensitive. it feels full and feels like theres pressure sometimes even like theres something poking me. i dont get any relief from it. im not sure if this is related or if maybe i have a problem with my lower back also. i wont know for sure until i get an mri done. but i have lots of problems with my legs and not much upper symptoms.

     
    Old 10-17-2006, 11:58 AM   #8
    lwaldorf
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loveshinesthru
    what is pcd? also not familiar with acdf ?
    PCD stands for Posterior Cervical Disectomy and ACDF stands for Anterior Cervical Disectomy with Fusion. thanks, larry

     
    Old 10-17-2006, 12:13 PM   #9
    lwaldorf
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    thanks for your response. i can't do a desk job since my neck, left arm, wrist and fingers burn the more i type. also the 2 1/2 to 3 hour commute back and forth from staten island into manhattan is unbearable. dressing for business in suits is also very uncomfortable. tie must be buttoned etc.

     
    Old 10-17-2006, 12:27 PM   #10
    lwaldorf
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    Re: HELP - Cervical Disc Dilemma!

    hi feelbad, not only do i have a persistent burning in my neck, left arm, left wrist, left hand and predominantly left 3 fingers, but i also at times experience a periodic tingling from the neck down into my left elbow.

     
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