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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Surgery or not?

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Old 03-25-2007, 01:57 PM   #1
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Re: I don't want to wait for surgery

I understand both of you completely. I am 37 and have spondylosis in the cervical spine c3-4 through c6-7. I also have central spinal canal narrowing at c5-6. The emg showed muscle atrophy and nerve damage, nothing has worked so far. i've had 3 nerve block injection and pt has given me more pain. Every time I go for another opinion I get the same answer, I could try more pt but will need surgery eventually. The two worse parts are that my mother is dead set against surgery and I can't get approval soon enough. I'm not sure if I should get one more opinion, I've had two or three.

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Old 03-25-2007, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: I don't want to wait for surgery

Oops, sorry about that last post.

Captnanny, I was diagnosed with some of the same things as you (severe neck arthritis with bone spurs and 3 herniated discs), but it wasn't until I had noticed a marked difference in the strength of my left arm vs my right that I knew surgery was the best option for me. Nerve damage is very serious and may not be reversible (my father lost permanent use in 2 of his fingers on his right hand before he finally had surgery).

Since you're in the Chicagoland area, you might consider contacting the highly recommended neurosurgeons Dr. Jonathan Citow and Dr. Edon Doppenberg, both of whom are excellent. Dr. Citow is the Chair of Neurosurgery at Condell, but they both work out of Lake Forest Hospital as well. They will tell you exactly what you need, as well as easing your mother's fears about surgery (Dr. Citow told me he performs as many as 18 ACDFs a week and says he'll have you home safe and recovering the next day). I ended up having surgery with Dr. Doppenberg (primarily because my arm strength was continuing to decrease and he was able to get an opening on his surgical calendar 6 weeks before my scheduled surgery with Dr. Citow) and am extremely happy with my decision. Though not as famous as Dr. Citow (author of 5 nuerosurgery textbooks), Dr. Doppenberg is reputed to be every bit as skilled a neurosurgeon and everyone I spoke with raved about him (as will I now do - lol).

I can understand the pain you are in and appreciate how difficult this decision is. I can only speak for myself - I had severe pain in my arm and neck, and as of the minute I woke up from surgery that pain was completly gone (replaced with pain from the surgery of course, but I sit here now 6 weeks later nearly pain free). I wish you all the best.

Old 03-31-2007, 04:00 AM   #3
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Re: I don't want to wait for surgery

thanks all of you guys. I called Dr. Citow, My mom thinks it's a croc because in 1981 condell used to be a "dump" according her you onlly went there to die" i am so frustrated, depressed and can't stand being on all this medication. It makes me feel like I am in a dream at times. They put me on a duragesic patch. 50 mg which I just realized is like morphine I can't wait any longer I am going to Dr. Citow and seeing who can get me in quickest. My biggest concern though is since I am a smoker my doctor now wants to use a bone donor should I request my own?

Old 03-31-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
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Re: I don't want to wait for surgery

Just some quick clarification, Fentanyl (duragesic) is 100 times stronger than morphine and pretty much the most potent medication on the market today. Medications as such should be used as a last resort for pain control if there is a possibility surgery can correct the problem.

If having the surgery will help to solve the pain problems I really suggest you go that route. I did and am happy I did. I had instantaneous pain relief from the surgery and most people do in fact.

I smoke and had donar bone. I had no issues with it. In fact I'm glad I went that route because several here who have posted said that the site they take the bone from often hurts more than the ACDF itself.

Not to be disrespectful, but I can't understand why your mother is dead set against the surgery, it's your body, your pain. The surgery in and of itself has a very high sucess rate. You don't read about those here, you often only read about the ones that failed. If she suffered in the same way you did I think she might reconsider.

I'm not sure how long you've been on the duragesic but if you do have the surgery it may be difficult to control your pain post op. The longer you are on a given pain med the more difficult it is to control after surgery. Additionally after you do heal, generally 6 weeks you'll have to slowly wean yourself off of the duragesic. It's not something you can just stop as you will go into withdrawals and I assure you they are horrible!

I wish you the very best
No matter how great your illness or pain, there's always someone else who may be worse off.

Last edited by Kissa; 03-31-2007 at 10:23 AM.

Old 04-01-2007, 01:10 AM   #5
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Re: I don't want to wait for surgery

Thank you very much. That is my exact thought. The withdrawals plus post opt pain is going to make it very hard. I don't quite understand my mother either but it's my decision, I trust my doctors and the hospital and they know my pain medication so they would be able to wean me off. I have a team working with me so I feel the more doctors in one place the better.
Thank you so much for replying, What does the moderator mean by starting a new thread?

Old 04-01-2007, 06:25 AM   #6
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Re: Surgery or not?

I am having ACDF (one level) very soon. I can tell you that as nervous as I am and my family is about it, there is no question that I need it and cannot live with the pain and neurological problems. For pain, all I have been given is naproxen (NSAID), and vicodin.

Good luck,

Old 04-01-2007, 08:35 AM   #7
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Re: Surgery or not?

I think the moderator means that people should start a new topic if they have questions that do not pertain to the original post. That way people will call their attention to the new question, instead of reading all the posts with lots of pages. Right moderator? heh

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