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Help - need surgery options for herniated C5-C6 and C6-C7!

Help - need surgery options for herniated C5-C6 and C6-C7!

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Posted by Neil on October 13, 2000 at 09:18:33:

I'm an active 35 year-old male, in good shape. In '94 I had right-side neck and arm paint following an incline bench press exercise. An MRI revealed a right-side, C6-C7 herniation, with slight C5-C6 herniation as well. Response to PT was favorable and no surgery was needed. Minor neck and some right scapula pain would flair up occasionally but repeating my PT exercises would rectify condition after a few weeks. (I think this condition was caused by my many years of lugging around a daypack filled with heavy text books!)

In 8/2000, I started noticing tingling in right hand (thumb and back of wrist) but repeating my PT exercises had no effect this time. Had another MRI and visited a Raleigh, NC neurosurgeon 10/12/2000, who suggested anterior discectomy, with multiple fusion using a titanium plate and bone donor. He suggested this anterior procedure due to my relative youth/activity level/condition and felt a posterior approach would leave the joint less stable and possibly just postpone future cervical surgeries down the road. I was hoping for a minimal approach - i.e. excise protruding disc material, foramenectomy, laminectomy, etc. - and don't relish the idea of removing or replacing anything.

I need to do more research, get a second opinion and hit the message boards but some of the postings are scaring me to death! My current symptoms: some numbness in thumb, index and back of wrist - with minor right are muscle weakness. These symptoms are not always present except usually when I sit and there's not much pain (yet). I'm not sure if having the surgery will make this seem tolerable in comparison. Help!

- Neil

P.S. Any information on long-term prognosis for multilevel fusion? How much range of motion do I lose? What could happen to the joints above and below the fused joints?

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