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Is disk protrusion repairable?

Is disk protrusion repairable?

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Posted by Jack on August 08, 2000 at 08:00:28:

A brief bio for me: I'm 37 years old. I landed on my head after a fairly serious mountain bike crash. I
fractured C-6 and 7, and have a moderate disk protrusion at C-5 that is pushing into my spinal canal.
When the accident occured, the pain in my right arm was unbelievable. Due to the nerves being whacked,
I thought my arm was shattered. However, the agony quickly subsided to numbness in my arm and hand.
Mechanically, my arm was fine.

A month later, I now have decreased sensation only in my right index finger. My Neurosurgeon is
surprised I do not have worse symptoms due to the disk pushing on my spinal cord. Other than the disk
protrusion, the vertebrae look fine, with no structural displacement. He has recommended discectomy
and fusion.

My question is, does anyone know of a surgical technique where a small needle could be used to
"vacuum" out the part of the disk that is protruding into the spinal canal? I'm thinking of something
similar to the device used to remove cataracts from the eyeball.

I have also heard of a technique called "chemonucleosis"(sp?), but am having trouble locating info
on that as well. Seems to me these would be logical first steps before digging out the entire disk, filling
the void with bone plugs drilled out of your hip, and installing a metal plate with screws in order to
reinforce the area.

If there is a medical reason this vacuum idea is impossible, I'd like to hear it. If not, I'd like to know why I cannot
find anything on the issue. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jack..

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