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    Old 09-08-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
    SKZ
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    Foraminotomy Info?

    Has anyone here ever had just a Foraminotomy? I still have a bad level after having my 2 level fusion and that thing is seriously killing me. I know there are bone spurs, arthritis, bulges and some stenosis at that level (C4-C5). But the MRI says nothing about disk degeneration. I never knew there was something that a person could do without having a FUSION at the same time. DOH. Is that one of those surgeries you have to wear a collar? Is it as serious as having the ACDF? MY biggest of trying to fix the bad levels has been the Adjacent Segment symdrome where the next level goes bad. Does that happen here?
    Thanks.

     
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    Old 09-08-2007, 05:51 PM   #2
    julyg
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    1) I searched the back board with your question and quite a bit of mixed results. Ck out the back board.

    2) You and I had same surgery. Mine was a yr ago 10/15 and I too was told that I needed c4-c5 done by another NS but went with the NS who said it he would do a 2 level fusion 'as we take a conservative approach" and I am having a lot of issues as well.

    I am curious if we share the following symptoms...

    Neck spasms have started to return in left shoulder (trap) and left side of neck.

    Just cannot stand my SUV any longer, need a softer ride! The bumps are killing my neck!

    Sleeping is uncomfortable again and had to pull out the old wedge pillow and moist heating pad again.

    If I didn't have a jacuzzi for the really bad days I think I would have been in ER at least a couple of times.

    Fatigued all the time.

    Oh and it feels like some little guy is drilling the back of my neck .

    Are you still walking? I used to hike all the time, this summer cancelled my Canadian Rockies trip.

    July

     
    Old 09-08-2007, 05:57 PM   #3
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    OH my God, we sound so similar, I cannot even believe it. My left side traps kill me and have for 6 yrs now. I am seriously getting fed up with it. I also have bad thoracic pain and those shoulder blades. whew. I am going to talk to the Dr. on Monday. This is such deja vu all over again, after having 5 yrs. prior and then having the 2 level fusion. I am NOT going to go thru this for another 5 yrs, with tons of procedures. I guess I will see what the Dr. has to offer. What does YOURS say????? I would love to know.
    Sue

     
    Old 09-08-2007, 08:47 PM   #4
    skych
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Hello there ladies,

    My neuro just told me that if steroid injections did not work for me I would need a foraminotomy. He said he could fix everything with a fusion but would not do it to me because I am so young.

    Anyway a foraminotomy is where they go in a drill a piece of the vertibrae out and make the pasasge for the spinal nerves bigger so as to relieve the compression on the nerves. Just do a ****** search on formainotomy and read about it. I believ that it is less evasive surgery than a fusion.

    Chrissy

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 06:44 AM   #5
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Yea I did alot of internet searches on it. Just wanting to know if it helped anyone who had it and what the surgery was like.

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 06:56 AM   #6
    skych
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    SKZ,

    I hope someeone does post to say that it helped them because I may have to go with that option if I do not get relief from the epidural injection.

    Chrissy

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 09:06 AM   #7
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    I did a search on this board and another board I go to about foraminotomy(s). It was helpful, but still would like to hear more. heh. (as I know you would too!)

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 04:50 PM   #8
    julyg
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Hey Sue,
    Which Dr are you going to see? My NS who did the surgery does not want to see me until Dec. Frankly if there is a serious problem I would not have him do my surgery due to the whole paralyzed vocal cord. And I am real flipped out about the vocal cord and having ANY kind of surgery! The NS client I had in a couple weeks ago told me if they did have to do more surgery it would have to be done with same incision, because if they went in on other side and damaged that cord I would have to have a trach! Too awful to consider.

    Anyway I am taking things easy (can't take narcotics make me physically ill and give me insomnia) and taking ibuprofin. Trying not to take valium. I noticed I was suddenly getting short of breath (heart & lungs fine) so I looked up the side effects of valium and yes shortness of breath is right up there (rats). It was the only drug that seemed to work for me.

    My next step would be to get an MRI but I do not trust my doc he said I was fusing fine but when I asked about a dark spot on xray he said Oh its a gap but it will fill in????????????? And he said he was very happy about my results and I think I need to see someone else soon but it's starting the whole process all over again.

    Do you ever wonder if the surgeons lurk on these boards !

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 05:00 PM   #9
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Well, tomorrow I am going to see the PHYSIATRIST. He is the guy who ultimately sent me to the spinal surgeon. I am going to tell him right up front that I am really sick of living with this C4-C5 *(&$#@$#. Its been 6 years already. I am not going to go thru 5 more years of trying things because I already did that part. With this guy I tried Botox for the spasms (didnt work), a ton of trigger point injections, and a multitude of other things. And all the 5 yrs. before I saw him I tried a thousand other Drs. and procedures. None of which helped that friggin C4-C5.
    I am really not sure why the heck they didnt fuse C4-C5 when they did my C5-C7? I am really paranoid that if I did fuse that C4-C5 that C3-C4 will go next. That is probably why they didnt do it. To be conservative. OY.

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 05:02 PM   #10
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    P.S. I totally hear you about the vocal cord issues. I wouldnt go back to that guy for nothing. It sounds like he screwed up. I am sao sorry you have had to go thru that. I am sure it has to be so stressful on top of the neck stuff.

     
    Old 09-09-2007, 07:17 PM   #11
    julyg
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Post tomorrow! I will look to see what your Dr says

    July

     
    Old 09-11-2007, 07:48 AM   #12
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Hi July:

    I saw the Physiatrist yesterday. The guy took a full hour with me. He is a real compassionate Dr. When I left the examining room, the waiting room was filled with people waiting. I took alot of time with this guy! Anyway, he looked at my MRI and at the C4-C5 area. Bascially the bulge and or bulges are narrowing the foramin, which he says can be causing the pain. But the narrowing is on the right side and most of the bad pain by my traps and neck is on the left. The pain could be more from the facet joint and spurring. I asked him about the foraminotomy and he said it was very rare that someone does those and that most of the time it is when there is an isolated spur type of thing and not when there is ALOT going on at that level. He doesnt want to rush into me getting a fusion because he is convinced about the adjacent syndrome problem. I can fully understand that. But he also doesnt want me to go thru years and years more of bad pain. So at first he suggested taking LYRICA, which frankly I do not want to do. I dont see myself functioning well on that stuff and being able to substitute teach elem. school. I keep reading bad stuff about it too (weight gain, foggy brain...) although my Dr. says he rarely sees that. Two years ago I took another anit-convulsant (same class as Lyrica) called TOPAMAX and it was a nightmare in the classroom. But he also told me that a certain antidepressant called PAXIL wouldnt give me alot of side effects about a yr. ago. I was so depressed because of my frustrations before my fusion that I went on it. Forget it, I HATED IT. So off I went. I lasted a week on it. I am the type that drugs affect me more than most people. I told him that I dont want to take Lyrica unless I HAVE to. So he said that we should try TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS for awhile because maybe we can get it out of the pain cycle. After my fusion last Jan., I have to admit that C4-C5 wasnt bothering that much until May when I went on a trip to NYC and pulled luggage and taxis killed my neck. (understatement, there). So he is thinking that i aggravated it on that trip and maybe we can calm it down. I have had 2 Medrol Dosepaks in July and they were a minimal help. Have you had Trigger Point INjections? They definitely hurt alot and the for about a day after you are sore. They only have Lidocaine in them. So this is the day after and I am sore from the shots, but feel a little better. So I will keep you posted. I go back a week from today for more trigger point injections.

    Last edited by SKZ; 09-11-2007 at 07:52 AM. Reason: typos

     
    Old 09-11-2007, 04:48 PM   #13
    julyg
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    Hi
    Sounds like you do have a good DR. Too bad he didn't offer the majic therapy I have not tried yet

    My experience with 2 tries of Trigger point injections were they did not work and hurt like hell! My PT at the time said DR should have iced me immediately afterwards (of course it didn't happen) and the after effects would not be painful. I am not complaining about the actual injections but the resulting pain for the next 2 days. No they did not help.

    Lyrica, I am looking at the bottle right now My Dr. suggested starting on a smaller dose at night and then working myself up to the full dose over a 2 wk period. You and I have both read the contra indications so we know this is a serious drug.

    Made me dizzy, vision blurry and did not help symptoms. But thats just how it affected me, may be different for you. I gradually took myself off the drug after I determined it was not helping. I cannot be feeling GAGA!

    I have to be alert and its real hard with not being able to drink caffeine (vocal cord) and having to drink chamomile swill tea all the time!

    This last week the wedge pillow is really helping! And the good old moist heating pad was put to use quite a bit last week. And my new chair is coming
    next week!

    Do you have your jacuzzi temp cranked up?

    July

     
    Old 09-11-2007, 05:01 PM   #14
    SKZ
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    Re: Foraminotomy Info?

    I have done the trigger point injections before my fusion, so I definitely know the score on those!
    My hot tub is set at about 101-102. I stay in for about 10 mins. Then I boil!

     
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