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    Old 07-15-2010, 08:59 AM   #1
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    Question cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    Hi everyone!

    I am fairly new to the boards. I have alot going on medically. I have been diagnosed with cervical stenosis C5-C6. Along with that is a couple of herniated discs. My symptoms were rapid onset from back pain to not being able to move right leg...problem is stenosis does not explain everything. My neurologist is looking at MS and MS mimicing illnesses. Everything is coming up negative so far.

    My question dangerous is stenosis and should it be treated? I am worried that my falls/balance problems are putting me at increased risk. My Surgeon does recommend surgery, but does not guarentee it will help much since he believes "something else" is going on also. But, to help me as much as possible and for preventive measures he thinks we should do surgery to correct the impingement.

    I am scared....I dont know what symptoms are from what. So that is why I am asking about the dangers of stenosis. I know I have that, so I have to start there. If anyone can explain anything to me, I would really appreciate it.

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    Old 07-15-2010, 10:22 AM   #2
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    The word "stenosis" simply means "closing up". The question is why and what else is going on. Do you have spinal nerve compression with it or spinal cord compression? Cord compression could very well cause the problems with your right leg. Once the cord is compressed, problems can show up anywhere below the level of the compression and often starts at the furthest toes. My legs got so stiff and weak I could hardly walk. Could only take baby steps. So it is wise to start with the neck and get that taken care of first and then see what is left.

    So how much do you know about the situation in your neck? Do you have spinal cord compression and how badly?

    There is a surgery specifically for spinal stenosis that doesn't involve fusion called a laminoplasty and there should be someone in your area who does it. It is very new.

    I was also told I might have MS because they found white matter lesions in my brain but guess MS....all cervical spine. They have no idea why I have those lesions.

    But here is the best piece of advice I can give you. No matter what the problem, the outcome can be directly correlated with the expertize of your spine doc. Whether it be orthopedist or neurosurgeon, find the best in your area. My preference is neuro but another here swears by her ortho....the thing is find the best........ she found a world class ortho and I found a world class neuro. Both do nothing but spine surgery. It makes all the difference in the world.

    And educate yourself. Learn the anatomy.

    We can help you with terms and share our experiences and outcomes so you know what to expect.

    And please consider getting a second opinion from the best teaching hospital in your area. Another good idea I think everyone will agree with.

    We are here for support and to answer any questions we can.

    welcome and gentle hugs...........Jenny

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    Old 07-15-2010, 01:53 PM   #3
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    Hi. I have had stenosis of the lumbar spine and the cervical spine. I have a long history of spine problems. Here is a summary:

    1. 1988 - bulging discs; traction on 2 occasions
    2. 1994 - surgery of the lumbar spine for herniated discs
    3. 1995 - surgery of the cervical spine for stenosis/foramena
    4. 1997 - surgery of the lumbar spine for flatback syndrome harrington rods implanted
    5. 2000 - surgery of the cervical spine for kyphosis harrington rods implanted in cervical & thoracic region
    6. 2005 - Spinal Cord Stimulator implant for lumbar pain


    1. Stenosis of the cervical spine which includes radiating pain bi-laterally
    2. Stenosis of the lumbar spine which includes numbness of the left leg radiating pain bi-laterally but the left more then the right.

    As mentioned in the other post is there any compression on the nerves of either the central canal or the foramena?

    Seek several opinions and make sure who ever you do consult with they specifcially do spine related issues either a neuro or orthopedic surgeon that specializes in the spine.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Old 07-17-2010, 05:30 AM   #4
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    Thanks Jenny....I do know that it is a spinal cord compression. I do have a neuro surgeon and he has shown me the MRI but I dont recall the severity of the compression. It is all so overwhelming. He explained the type of surgery, but the name of it escapes me (my memory problems are one of the reasons MS is suspected). He plans on going in thru the front on my neck. No fusion is being done, just removal and replacement. I will ask for copies of MRI reports.
    I have so much to learn....any recomendations to start with. Websites or books?
    Thank you so very much for you help and advise.

    Old 07-17-2010, 05:44 AM   #5
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    Pebble Beach,
    Thanks for your reply and info. I am so sorry to hear of all the difficulties you have endured. I do hope all will be well soon.
    Thank you for your advice on getting a second opinion. I do plan on that prior to getting any surg. done. However, I am not sure how to go about finding a world class surg. as Jenny suggests: Can either of you give me advice on that?
    Is a teaching hospital the best place to start?
    Thanks for your reply and help.

    Old 07-27-2010, 06:18 PM   #6
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    I suffer the same thing only I have moderate spinal stenosis on c6-7, along with bulge disc with disc herniation on c3-7 with facet diesese on c7-T1. I just found out last night at the hopitital that I have moderate annular bulge on L5-S1, mild annular bulge on L4-L5. ffindings say there is a mild biconacaavity contour of the vertabral bodies.
    I understand your concern and pain. I have yet to see a nerologist, but plan to see one with in the next week.
    Hang in there.....

    Last edited by jackiedisloved; 07-27-2010 at 09:49 PM.

    Old 07-27-2010, 06:29 PM   #7
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    For my post ACDF stenosis I had a procedure called a posterior cervical foraminotomy.

    It's the effects of stenosis which appear to be dangerous in your situation. If you had minimal symptoms and had a finding of stenosis, it wouldn't be much of an issue. Most everyone, as they age, has some degree of stenosis.

    BUT, when your symptoms start to make life difficult via pain and/or affects such as numbness, tingling, muscle wasting, etc - then it becomes time to do something.

    Discuss with your doctor if stenosis is the ONLY problem he/she sees. I'm an advocate for doing all that is needed when they go in. Don't fix my stenosis and then tell me the spine is unstable or I have discs herniating that may need more surgery.
    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 07-28-2010, 08:46 AM   #8
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    Re: cervical stenosis - how dangerous is it?

    your scenerio sounds alot more complicated than mine. However, I also have a high probability of MS. so what symptoms are from which ailement is the complication. At this point we have decided not to do any surgery.
    I do wish you all the best. I am so glad you are going to see a neurologist. I would also like to welcome you to the boards. You will find a great deal of educated people who can offer their opinions and advice. I can only offer comfort and support, but my shoulder is always here. Gentle hugs.

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