Having cervical surgery ?'s if you have had it done

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by texasmaia, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. texasmaia

    texasmaia New Member

    From all I have read I am under the assumption that Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease are the same thing,.....correct?

    Well, that is what the neurosurgeon diagnosed me with and I am scheduled for surgery on the 27th. Removing discs from C3 to C7, replacing with bone graphs and then pinning back together.

    Next question would then be .....Is this surgery what everyone refers to as fusion?

    I know there are lots of folks out there who have had it done. Was it worth it? I have so many people giving me conflicting words, but I haven't spoken to anyone who has directly had this done.

    How much will my mobility be changed afterwards??

    Any words of encouragement or advice would be appreciated.

    Maia
  2. twitcher

    twitcher New Member

    but only on one level. C 5/6. It was a most unpleasant experience. The only reason I had it done is because my disc was pushing on my spinal cord, causing leg weakness (or so they said). I'm worse now than I was then although no one really knows what is wrong with me. I have numbness, tingling, weakness, pain and loads of other things. I would not have had it done for just pain or discomfort. Yours is a multilevel procedure. What are your symptoms?
  3. twitcher

    twitcher New Member

    osteoarthritis and ddd are different. OA can be anywhere on your body. I have ddd but not osteoarthritis.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/18/2006]
  4. MamaDove

    MamaDove New Member


    I was at work when I lifted a shelf over my head and something 'popped'...After many tests and the worst being a mylegram with CT scan, it was determined that the disk was impinging the spinal cord and one more fall or injury could leave me paralyzed or worse...

    Sooooooooooooo, after a year of PT and worsening symptoms, the tingling and numbness on my left side as well as loss of balance and neck pain, headaches, blah,blah,blah...I made the decision to have it fused...

    It was an anterior diskectomy, meaning went through the front, took a bone form my hip and fused between C4-5...

    Before I had this done the surgeon wrote in his report that it was necessary for my future well being but thought my symptoms would not subside due to the bone spurs and DDD as well as my nerves and muscles being damaged from the intial injury and all the PT...I was doing more damage!!!

    I wore a cervical collar (stiff) for 5 months, while I shoveled snow, did PT, walked the dog, and everything else they told me to do...I ended up with a sever TMJ issue from wearing the collar and my original symptoms are still troublesome...That along with an oophrectomy a year earlier were the MAIN triggers for the FMS/CF...I also had CMP which I believe is still a major issue but noone wishes to address further...

    And the hip where they took the bone from is tender and sore still and inflames quite a bit upon exertion...The surgeon told me it would never bother me after a month or so...It killed me from day one even on high doses of pain killers...My hubby also thinks the proceedure to take the bone damaged something and my sacroiliac now is arthritic...

    I really don't think if faced with neck surgery again, that I would comply...For me it was a traumatic experience, one of many I never recovered from...

    The way you describe yours, sounds quite invasive...Have you chosen your surgeon yet? I chose a surgeon that was new to my area, from NJ, a young guy, but one that chose less invasive practices...It's his specialty now, the only one in Maine...He wasn't even board certified at the time but I trusted him to do it, also, he was the only one willing to answer all my questions...The major issue was losing my voice...They have to move the laryngeal nerve to gain access, he was quite surprised by my question...This was pre-internet and I found out the danger through JAMA journals...I actually read the surgery, step-by-step before I even got the surgeon...

    The surgery was successful but again, my symtpoms remain and and worsening too because of the ddd and bone spurs...I never gained back my strength and I still get dizzy and lose my balance (although they don't agree it's caused by my neck)...Never had a problem prior...And the TMJ issue was also tossed aside, everyone saying that they never heard of severe TMJ problems caused by the collar wear...I paid a specialist $500 to go over my case and I brought the collar, put it on and he conducted his own tests revealing that wearing the collar that long def caused the damage, irreversible by the way...

    We have discussed this here several times and I remember many saying that they found relief and such, I wish my story was the same...

    Please research all you can and feel comfortable about doing it...Try and find people who have had it done, DO NOT listen to those who haven't...Many told me that it was nothing...They were wrong!

    I know someone just had it done on here too, can't remember exactly but I think she was in Phoenix, maybe she will tell you her story, try to keep this bumped to the first page so more see it...

    Good luck with this, it is a trauma to your body as well as a long recovery...I overdid it shortly after by shoveling snow and walking the dog and a myriad of other excessive things, but that's me, I cannot sit around esp. in pain, it drives me nuts...

    Oh yeah, more info, we just discussed about nsaids causing stomach/intestinal issues...I took high doses of relafen and motrin after surgery and ended up suffering rectal bleeding which eventually was diagnosed as Ulcerative Colitis and more recently was as severe as Crohns...Be careful with the pain meds!!!

    Sorry so long and graphic, but you asked for experiences, that's mine...

    PS, I no longer drive regularly due to my vision and the inability to turn my head without dizziness, then nausea, recently deemed to be from my neck issues...More fun.

    Peaceful days ahead~Alicia
  5. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    Well, I don't have any horror stories for you today! I'm sorry for those who have had bad experiences with this surgery---and I'm sure their experiences are very real and valid, no question, and having FM/CFS probably just added to the burden. Hopefully their pain will lessen with time.

    Now, I have not had this surgery---so I do NOT have experience myself. But I have a good friend who has had this anterior disc fusion, and a brother-in-law who has, too. Both have said it made a world of difference in their pain, and they went through it fine---not that recovery was a snap, to be sure...it took a while. But I can tell you that both are glad they had it, and would do it again.

    Just wanted a different point of view represented. Ultimately you and your surgeon have to decide what's best.

    Good luck to you!!

    Hugs,
    Pam
    [This Message was Edited on 09/18/2006]
  6. bandwoman

    bandwoman New Member

    I had cervical fusion between C5/6 and C6/7. I have a metal plate that helped the fusion. My bone was taken from a bone bank so I didn't have the hip problem one of the other persons here mentioned from taking bone from your own body. My case was pretty severe. I have cervical stenosis and I had bone spurs that had grown into the spinal cord and the spinal fluid was dammed up so no spinal fluid was going anywhere. I was told I would lose the use of my arms and legs and bowel and bladder function if I didn't have it in 3-6 six months. Needless to say I really had no choice. I had the surgery in 2001. I had it in early May. I am a teacher. I did have the summer to recouperate and I was able to go back to work at the end of August. I had some strange complications which I think were very unusual so I won't even go into that. I had my incision in my throat and I have not been able to swallow correctly since then. Because of my fibro my muscles tightened up and I would say I have alot of neck problems now. I don't have pain unless I am moving in the wrong way or have my head turned for long periods of time. It is more tightness and stiffness. You do lose some range of motion but it is not all that bad. Your surgery sounds pretty extensive. My pastor had a very serious neck surgery in January of this past year. He had many discs that were bad. He is back to preaching now and is doing pretty well. I don't know what choices you have but if surgery looks like the way to go let us know and we will certainly pray for you and for a good outcome.

    Nancy
  7. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I haven't had the surgery done, my sister has but I have a question.

    Isn't a neurosurgeon for the brain? (Ooops, was really tired yesterday when I asked this)

    If I'm reading your question right, that's 5 disks that they're working on at one time?

    My lovely friend with MS has DDD also and here in Germany (where they created the first replacement disks) they couldn't do her surgery because she needed 3-4 replacements.

    The problem with DDD and fusion is that you have to have a healthy disk to fuse it to, and many don't.

    I'd be doing a lot more research on the problem and make sure you KNOW the answers to all of your questions before they put you under.

    Hugs and best of luck to you,

    Nancy B.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/19/2006]
  8. TXFMmom

    TXFMmom New Member

    I am inoperable, as one has to have two good levels above the bad ones to stabilize the others to, and I don't.

    HOwever, neurosurgeons are the ones to select for this type of surgery, and make sure they have all the monitoring devices to make sure they aren't infringing on anything during surgery, etc. IT is amazing that some places don't.

    It is not a surgery to have done lightly, but if it is interferring enough with things, sometimes, one must.

    Recovery, with this many levels will be tough, and you will need a good support system.
  9. mamagood

    mamagood New Member

    Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease are not the same thing. I have Osteoarthritis in my lower back and in my thumbs. Degerenative Disc Disease is a separate problem in itself. Osteoarthritis is the loss of cartilidge around the bone. I take Glucosamine & Chondroitin everyday to help rebuild my cartilidge.

    Do you have Fibro or CFS cause back problems go hand in hand with them?

    I have had 3 herniatedd discs and 2 of them ruptured. Which can cause permanent paralysis.

    Ask your Neurosurgeon if the procedure is called a fusion. He should be able to explain the procedure in terms that you can understand. I know mine did for me.

    Hope this info helps.

    Moe
  10. texasmaia

    texasmaia New Member

    I wanted to thank everyone for the replies! After doing a lot of research etc. I am going ahead with the surgery. I like those odds better than the thought of being incapacitated or even worse.

    Right now I am just looking forward to a few days of rest on good strong pain killers. Sounds really lame I know....but I tell the truth.

    Am I scared? Yes! Does that surprise me? Yes!

    I have always trusted my surgeons, and never feared the surgeries I have had in the past. There have been five on my ovaries and hysterectomy. This one is different.

    I am afraid of what's to come. I am 43 years old. My youngest has just started college. My husband and I are ready to embark on life for 'us' for the first time. We are both going to begin new jobs soon. We are selling our house soon. I have begun my artwork with a passion that is so strong. I am excited!

    Now....the unknown is strangling me. I have a strong faith in the Lord and I do trust him.

    All the patsy words don't help. I am still afraid. Crazy isn't it? Like if I don't admit it, it will go away. Ha

    If you pray....please pray for my Jesus to make his Presence known to me.

    Blessings,
    Maia
  11. BethM

    BethM New Member

    I had the diskectomy and fusion done in 1995, at C-4,5,6. The doc also removed many bone spurs.

    For me, this was a good experience. The recovery was a bit rough, and I was off work for 3 months after the surgery, but aside from a couple of numb spots on the back of my left hand, and a tendency for my neck and shoulder muscles to spasm easily, the problem was resolved.

    I figured the residual problems were a pretty good trade off for impending loss of use of my left arm and hand!

    I have a titanium plate still in place in my neck, and no, it has never set off an airport security alarm!

    My surgery was done by a neurosurgeon, as I felt most comfortable with that specialty messing with my spinal cord.

    Maybe I was lucky, but my surgery was quite successful.

    I also had bone grafts from the bone bank, which saved me the painful hip incision to harvest my own bone.

    Be aware you will probably have muscle spasms in your neck and shoulders after the surgery. Be sure the doc gives you appropriate meds for that. Mine forgot, and that was definitely unpleasant.

    Good luck with the surgery, think positive, ok?

    Peace,
    Beth.
  12. bandwoman

    bandwoman New Member

    I will pray for your surgery. I too have a great faith in the Lord. When is your surgery going to be? You will have some wonderful days of rest. After the initial stuff was over I had many days of rest and it was heavenly. I will pray for your fear also. After reading all the stuff we said you are brave but you know it is necessary or you wouldn't be going through with this. I will be thinking of you.

    Nancy