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Paddycakes 03-01-2010 09:04 AM

Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
I was diagnosed with Cervical Stenosis in November 2009 after a MRI. I began having severe symptoms the following month. I had trouble with my gait, became weak in arms and legs, and numbness in my hands. I had the Laminectomy with Fusion surgery on Jan. 21, 2010. I was told I would be in the hospital 2-3 days. I ended up going to a rehab hospital for almost two weeks the day after surgery. I could not move my arms. My right arm came back some. The doctor on the spinal unit in the rehab hospital did a pin ***** test and said I should recovery. I still have much weakness in my left with numbness (worse than prior to surgery) in the left thumb and forefinger. Numbness in my right has improved. I am doing PT 3 times per week and they seem knowledgeable. I am seeing a little improvement, but wonder how long this will take and can I expect a full recovery. The orthapedic surgeon said this is rare, but not uncommon. He said it will take a while. I am due to see the neurosurgeon tomorrow. The OS said it was due to the C5 nerve still reacting to the surgery. I don't know all the different levels I had, but assume it was fairly extensive. Any experience, strenghth and hope would be appreciated.

feelbad 03-01-2010 10:55 AM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
i am just curious as to the 'why' you had to have this done posteriorly and not anterior? posterior is ALWAYS much more painful and is a longer healing time mostly becasue they have to cut thru all that thicker muscle to just GET to the actual surgical area vs no muscle from the front at all? i had both approaches done with two needed seperate surgeries, and the anterior was far better pain wise and healing too. what was the nature of the injury or problem within that area that simply could not be done from the front? its really a great sign that you simply ARE making any levels of improvement at all, it does mean that this is more than likely recoverable. i lost my left hand and my L leg after my cord surgery with alot of rehab following i got some of what was recoverable back. but as you are finding out, it can be a slower than you would expect type of thing.

just what does it state on your pre op MRI? if you could type it word for word THAT would really help alot just seeing the way the interpretting rad saw your findings. did this involve your cord at ALL in any way shape or form, any findings? i am only asking that since your actual gait was being impacted at all here pre op? knowing more info would just really help in giving you the best overall advice here. if you do not have a copy of that MRI report,get one and any follow up MRIs done too. you just DO need to keep all copies of your own test results. the surgeon has one you can get a copy from too when you see him, just ask for one then and he should be able to get that copy for you. i am out of time right now but will pop back in. when he does your neuro exam, make certain to note ANYTHING he states about certain signs here? like clonus, myelopathy or anything else he says? its just really important to know this stuff. good luck,marcia

Ilovemycutedog 03-01-2010 02:55 PM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
I think Paddy meant Post as in "after" surgery..not Posterior...I could be wrong..:)

I had both anterior/posterior for my last surgery..but that was number 3 and yes..not done anymore usually for the first one... really does take anywhere from 6 to 12 months for a complete fusion to take place...and at least a few months to really start feeling better after your fusion with twinges of pain both in your muscle and nerves...

Your NS should explain more when you see him and I would advise asking any/all questions if you are having specific pain that is worse than before...

But there will definitely be some pain over the next weeks so take it slow...take your medicine as prescribed to stay ahead of any pain..and follow all the instructions for the PT and such to gradually strenghten the muscles..

Lots of people have success with their surgery and I truly hope that you are one of them!! I was not so lucky..but that's the way it goes sometimes...

feelbad 03-02-2010 08:47 AM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
hey free, you can ONLY have an actual laminectomy done from the posterior approach since it is the only way to even get thru the vertebrae to actually do certain surgerys? they remove the backs(the lamina) or back of the vertebrae along with the boney prominence attatched to it, which unfortuently also takes away some of the solid structure and integrity of the c spine area too since those bones are no longer there to interlock/stabilize anymore? they had to actually do a tri level(c 6 thru T 1) on mine just to get to my spinal cord for an icky surgery from hell that required them to cut into the actual cord to remove what was basically a glob of blood vessels that i guess i was actually born with. they were bleeding off and on so they had to come out. the post op muscle damage is the gift that keeps on giving up there now, along with the actual cord damage.

i am just a wee bit curious as to why they had to go the posterior for removing stenosis. unless other factors were involved. kind of a bit more in depth when most can be done anterior, ya know? sounds like she is making progress tho and thats what matters in rehabbing any body part.

hope ya got some good news paddy, marcia

Ilovemycutedog 03-02-2010 10:28 AM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery bad...LOL...I totally blanked out on that one as I have only had fusions...

Thanks for correcting me:) And yes...happy that Paddy is having improvements day by day...

feelbad 03-04-2010 09:59 AM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
well its nice to know that i am alone in the 'blanking out' dept free, lol. i am really wondering how paddys NS appt went and what she was told.

paddy are you out there? i really do want to know what your NS had to say? please post an update when you can,K? marcia

Ilovemycutedog 03-04-2010 12:28 PM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
Yep...I'm a dork...I admit it!!! HAHA...:)

Yes Paddy..please come back and give us an update...We care about what happened at the appt...hope to hear from you soon...

Paddycakes 03-05-2010 04:54 AM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
Hi, thanks for your concern. I did see my NS and he feels confident that I will get better, but can't say exactly when. He explained that the nerve has it's own timetable to heal. So, it is just going to take time. I just get concerned that I am going to be stuck with the severe weakness in my left arm. I was very active prior to Nov. of 09, riding my road and mountain bikes, exercising 4-5 times per week. So, this has been very debilitating to me. From what I have read, the reaction is not uncommon. However, the numbness in my left thumb and forefinger and my left little toe is bothersome.

As far as the pre-op MRI the findings are: There is marked degenerative disc disease at C5-6 and C6-7 where there are prominent anterior and posterior osteophytes. There is articular facet hypertrophy through out the cervical spine as well. There is mild wedging of the C5 vertebra. Both the OS and NS agreed that doing the surgery from the back of the neck was the best approach. I wasn't too thrilled about either approach, but trusted their combined opinion.

I just started taking my neck collar off yesterday. I'm going to do it a little bit at a time and keep doing the other PT exercises. Hopefully, this will get continue to get better. I have to remember my first week in the hopsital when I could barely move either arm and couldn't feed myself.

Anyway, thanks for both of your input. By the way, Paddy is a he. Real name, Patrick. In Ireland, Patrick is Padraig. Hence, the nickname Paddy.

Paddycakes 03-05-2010 08:05 AM

Re: Post Cervical Laminectomy with Fusion Recovery
Oops!! I posted the results of the X-ray. The results of the MRI: 1. Multilevel degenerative change in the cervical spine, most advanced at the C3-4, C5-6, and the C6-7 levels where diffuse disc bulges result in moderate to severe spinal canal stenosis decreasing the AP dimensions of the spinal canal to approximately 6 mm at each of these levels. Multilevel foraminal stenosis is also present, most severe at the C5-6 level bilaterally and on the left at C6-7 level. 2. Multilevel impressions on the cord outline. Subtle signal cord abnormality, however, is present at the C3-4 level with the most prominent cord compromise at this level.

This sounds worse than the X-ray. And I thought I just had a sore neck for 6 months.

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