Has anyone had cervical spine surgery and could help me?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by shelby319, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. shelby319

    shelby319 New Member

    I know I've brought this up several times with a shoulder problem and having rotator cuff surgery. But it turns out the neck area is so severe that this has to be done before I do anymore damage or become paralyzed. I'm not sure of the name of the surgery, but at levels C3-4, C4-5, and the C6-7 is the most severe disk. All of them basically are almost closed due to diffused bulging and narrowing.

    Most of the problems that had to do with the shoulders was really caused from the neck area instead, and they figured doing this surgery on the neck would alleviate the pain in both shoulders as well, because of the impingment on the nerves.

    I feel I am completely in limbo as to what to do and I've looked everything up, talked with the neurosurgeon, who will perform the surgery, has tried his hardest to explain all of it too, along with my Dr. and anyone else for that matter....and I'm still extremely scared as to what to do.

    They claim it is a very easy procedure, where they go through the front of the neck and open up the disks and put something in there from a cadaver, then insert this 2 1/2 inch plate into the neck to stablize it and stitch you up and come home two days later. Anyone have any thoughts on this or has anyone had this type of surgery that could make me feel more at ease about having it done?

    I also have the fear about pain issues after the surgery and perhaps being in pain or on pain meds for the rest of my life. They claim this is harder to do on someone who has Fibro and not recovering as well as someone "normal"...that part I thought wasn't very appropriate for them to say, because now I'm in more of a panic than ever!!

    Then they also gave me a handicapped permanant sticker as they say I will need it now for the rest of my life!!!!! Also I will have to be extremely careful to not do anything that could cause more problems down the road. Does all this make sense to anyone, that might have had this done, and could help me out with how it worked for them or how they felt afterwards???/!!

    I'm sorry this is so long, but I couldn't think of a shorter version to explain all this!!

    I thought this board was the best place to ask such a question as this, alot of us have some of the same problems and pain issues that never get resolved!!

    ANY information would be gratefully appreciated!!
    God Bless all of you and thank you..
  2. UnicornK

    UnicornK New Member

    It's a cervical fusion. I had it for neck pain and lack of movement. It didn't help the pain - didn't make it worse either - but I do have full range of motion now.

    The recovery is (sorry, I can't resist) a pain in the neck (sorry! LOL). The pain isn't bad (I didn't use as much pain medication as I feared), but you're in a neck brace...well, it seems like forever.

    They cut out both the discs and vertebrae and replace them with "cages" filled with cadaver bone chips. Then they screw a plate over it to keep it in place.

    The scarring is minimal. Use a salve with comfrey root in it until the incision is healed (my surgeon suggested this). I used Herbal Ed's Salve, available at health food stores. After that, vitamin E oil or rosa mosqueta oil will keep the scar from forming.

    That said, I feel my surgery was a success. Would I do it again? Yes.

    Hope this helps.

    God Bless.
  3. shelby319

    shelby319 New Member

    Thanks to all you great people here that have helped me with your answers, I went ahead and made my apt. this morning for surgery..October 4th!! They were extremely helpful and compassionate about everything I asked, which made me feel even more comfortable!

    I will take you up on the offer of the salve for scarring, which sounds like a great idea seeing the incision is in the front of the neck, and somehow learn to take it easy for a few weeks while recovering at home...yeah right!!LOL!! But I thought if I make meals ahead of time by baking casseroles, lasagne, spaghetti sauce, things like that and cut into serving sizes, that will help with having a healthy meal that my husband won't beable to do otherwise. How's that sound? Have someone else clean for me and help while my husband is working might be worthwhile, right? How about sleeping with a pillow or how should I sleep with my neck straight up? Is there a special pillow to use or something that would be more comfortable to sleep well?

    The neurosurgeon has a class that is mandatory for you to attend for anyone that has Fibro, where you can ask any questions and an information session before they will even do the surgery...which is fine by me. That sounds like a first though, doesn't it? And a great idea!!!! And of course the pre-op with both the neurosurgeon and my family Dr. Also this nice woman who your assigned to, you can call anytime to ask a question you might of forgotten about or need more information about that you can call her. I wish all of you could have this group of wonderful Dr's I'm going to be working with when they do this surgery. I explained how nervous I was because of the Fibro and the meds I'm on or that I won't have the relief afterwards because of it, or even during the surgery because we do become tolerant to our meds, right? Was that a good question to ask?

    I did explain as time went on and I put the surgery off, I've had more problems with pain and spasms under the armpits, along with the other pain issues of it running across my shoulder blade, upper back area, headaches, holding my head up for any length of time, too many problems to list....do alot of you have the same problems too, to the point of having surgery or are you too waiting like I have?

    Thank you all for your wonderful support and help which made me make that apt. this morning! Now all you will have to do is perhaps walk me through it as the time comes closer to surgery, if you don't mind?/!!LOL!!!!

    Is there anything else I should know about after the surgery to make me more comfortable...I'm open to any imput and support you can give me!!!

    Thank you once again for all your compassion and so much help!!
    Gentle hugs,
  4. jake123

    jake123 New Member

    I had C5-6-7 fused two years ago. They gave me a shot in the recovery room and I felt wonderful. I could have gone home. I was walking around my room, going to the bathroom, sitting in a chair. My doctor came by in the morning and said maybe you will feel like getting up today. I said Whaaaaaaat??? I'm going home.
    I had absolutely no problems. My surgery was done by Dr. Wm. Hudgins and Dr. Mark Glass in Dallas. Geniuses (sp)
  5. lptopcat

    lptopcat New Member

    I also had this opeation, c6-c7. I had lots of neck pain, numbness, tingling and pain down right arm. It's been a year and a half since the surgey and my neck feels great.

    I believe that this surgery triggered the FM . I wore a neck brace for a few weeks. The worst part for me was not being able to drive!!! And it was hot!!!

    I was scared but the surgery was a big help for me. My job requires a lot of computer use and of course. I a right handed. I only used pain meds for a few days.

    Good luck to you & God bless you.

  6. ulala

    ulala New Member

    neck. I wouldn't have a fusion if you can avoid it. There are clinical trials going on now to place tow artifical disc in the cervical spine. The recovery is so much shorter, no loss of motion. The only problem is that in two weeks you feel 99% better and think yo can go back tdoing things you could do before your injury. I was lucky enough to get into a trial that was doing 2 artificial disc replacements to one fusion and I got the disc replacements.

    I was in the Mobic-C trial. I have posted another trial that is going on. Please look into the disc replacements before doing the fusion. Best wishes and I'll answer any questions that I can for you.

    Good luck!

    Artificial Neck Disc

    By Jen Christensen
    Posted: Monday, August 21, 2006

    The Cervical Spine and Disc Degeneration
    The cervical spine (neck) is the area of the spine from the upper back to the base of the skull. Small, horizontal bone segments (called vertebrae) are attached to the spine. Tiny joints (called facet joints) enable the spine to bend. In between each of the vertebrae is a small, cushioning disc. The discs act like shock-absorbers for the spine and prevent the vertebrae from collapsing.

    The spinal discs are composed of a tough covering of cartilage (called the annulus) and an inner gel-like substance (called the nucleus). Normally, the spinal discs contain a significant amount of water. With age, however, the water content decreases and the disc loses some of its cushioning ability (called disc degeneration). The disc also shrinks, causing the space between the vertebrae to get smaller. In addition, the outer covering of the disc may start to wear and develop tiny cracks. Some of the inner contents of the disc may leak out through the cracks into the space which holds the spinal nerves (disc herniation). That can put pressure on the nerves and cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. A herniated cervical (neck) disc can cause symptoms in the neck or shoulder. Sometimes the pain causes headaches or shoots down the arm.

    Treating Herniated Cervical Discs
    Initially, doctors will try conservative treatments for a herniated cervical disc. Patients may be advised to rest, use a neck collar and take anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy, exercises and injections of steroids may also be recommended.

    When conservative measures fail to provide relief or symptoms are severe, doctors may recommend surgery. A discectomy is a procedure to remove the part of the disc that is causing the problem. To access the spinal discs, the surgeon makes an incision, coming in from the front of the spine or through the back. A portion, or the entire disc, is removed to take the pressure off the spinal nerves. To stabilize the spine, doctors usually perform a spinal fusion. A tiny rod and screws are used to hold the top and bottom vertebrae in place. Then a small piece of donor bone or bone fragments are placed in the disc space. The bone will grow and fill in the area, permanently fusing the upper and lower vertebrae.

    According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, roughly 325,000 spinal fusions were performed in 2003. Discectomy and spinal fusion can take the pressure off the affected spinal nerves and relieve the symptoms of a herniated cervical disc. But the procedure also permanently eliminates movement in that segment of the spine. If only one disc is affected, only a very small area of the spine is fused and patients don’t usually notice any loss of mobility. However, a potential future problem may occur with the discs and vertebrae on either side of the treated section. Some doctors believe spinal fusion puts more pressure on the adjacent segments of the spine and can eventually increase the wear and tear on these areas as well.

    Artificial Cervical Discs
    An artificial spinal disc is a man-made disc designed to replace a diseased natural disc. In the neck, an artificial disk would eliminate the need for fusion and enable a patient to have more normal motion in the spine. Patients receiving an artificial disc are able to move their neck soon after surgery and have a faster return to normal activity levels. Researchers also believe there is less risk of degeneration in the adjacent segments of the spine.

    There are several discs in development for use in the cervical spine. One device in clinical trials is the CerviCore™ Intervertebral Disc. Currently, investigators are undertaking a multi-site study to compare the safety and effectiveness of the CerviCore disc with traditional anterior (approaching from the front) cervical discectomy and fusion. Participants will be randomized to receive one of the two treatments and then followed annually for up to five years. The trial is taking place in the following cities:

    Roseville, CA
    San Diego, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    Aventura, FL
    Clearwater, FL
    Fort Myers, FL
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    Chicago, IL
    Indianapolis, IN
    Overland Park, KS
    Scarborough, ME
    Boston, MA
    Springfield, MA
    Southfield, MI
    St. Louis, MO
    New York, NY
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Willow Grove, PA
    Florence, SC
    Lubbock, TX
    Southlake, TX
    Richmond, VA
    Seattle, WA

    For information about the CerviCore™ Cervical Intervertebral Disk Replacement, log onto http://www.stryker.com/spine/products_motionpreservation_cc.html. For information about the study, call (888) 830-PAIN.


    For information about the CerviCore™ Cervical Intervertebral Disk Replacement:
    http://www.stryker.com/spine/products_motionpreservation_cc.html. For information about the study, call (888) 830-PAIN.

    For general information about neck pain or cervical disc problems:
    American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org
    North American Spine Society, http://www.spine.org

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