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  • another ACDF or facet radiofrequency rhizotomy

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    Old 01-18-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: Atlanta, Georgia US
    Posts: 7
    helenoftroy HB User
    another ACDF or facet radiofrequency rhizotomy

    I had c4-c5 fused, no hardware, in January 2002. I had c5-c6-c7 fused, with hardware, in December 2006.

    For 18 months prior to the first surgery, I suffered greatly and tried medications, physical therapy, and epidurals to no good effect until I convinced the doctor to do a repeat MRI. When that MRI showed problems at c4-c5, the NS immediately suggested surgery. I recovered quickly and well, and felt great for 5 years.

    When I started having pain again in late 2006, I had an MRI, which showed the changes at C5-C6 and C6-c7. The NS again immediately suggested surgery. I recovered a little less quickly but well.

    Those experiences led me to believe that ACDF surgery was just what you do. Now, I don't know whether I should push for another surgery or for nerve burning (facet radiofrequency rhizotomy) at c3-c4. I don't know what's riskier at this point.

    I have been suffering severe pain again since November 2007. (11 months post-2nd surgery). The MRI in 11/07 showed the fusion healing and no new problems. The MRI in 10/08 showed a minor herniation at c3-c4. The NS said he didn't think the new herniation was causing my symptoms, but I just had a facet injection at c3-c4 (on the right) that helped tremendously for 3 weeks. I have a facet injection on the left side, same levels, scheduled for 1/29. My PM doctor wants to burn the nerves at that level. I have read that complications are most common at the higher levels in the cervical spine. Complications include permanent & excrutiating nerve pain.

    To me the fact that the facet injection at the level where my herniation is helped - suggests to me that the herniation is causing my pain. It makes me wonder whether I should push for surgery instead of the nerve burning. But the fact that I only got 11 months of relief last time make me wonder whether surgery would even be worth it. I am wondering if anyone out there has had to make a similar decision.

    am having problems

    not sure I should

    Both times, by the time the MRI matched up with my symptoms, the NS automatically recommended the surgery.

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