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My husband is having cervical spine surgery

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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:29 AM   #1
gabbycakes
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Hi All,

My husband is having cervical spine surgery due to a nerve compression and bulging disc in the c7-t1 and c1 area, I believe those are the areas of question. He has had 2 lumbar fusion the first one was a disaster then it had a revision done my a top surgeon had great success. We are using the same group of doctors this one just specializes in the cervical area. Anyway his symtoms started out of the clear blue with a clawing hand, no pain and numbness in the hand. The hand is really bad. We have been told this can become very serious and needs to be fixed immediately. So we have spend the last 2 days in NYC doing all kinds of test seeing addional doctors to confer with etc. We have to go again on Monday and then he has a phone conference with his surgeon.

From what I understand the type of surgery that he will be doing is a very simple really no pain just releasing the nerve and then just possible cleaning the disc in the area, he stated this is nothing like the lumbar fusion he had.

I wish I had a more technical dx. but I will on Monday.They have been rushing us from neurologist,to MRI, back to the surgeons office it been nuts. But any input would be greatly appreciated, any questions we should ask, anything.


Thanks,

Gabbycakes
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Unread 02-12-2011, 10:18 AM   #2
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Dear Gabby, good luck with your husbands surgery. If he is just having to be "cleaned out" and no fussion, it should not be such a hard surgery. I am fused C3-7, after failed C-6-7 with plate. It worked out for me and I have less pain. It sounds like you have great doctors working for you. Have hope all will turn out ok. ginnie
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Unread 02-12-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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Dear Gabby, good luck with your husbands surgery. If he is just having to be "cleaned out" and no fussion, it should not be such a hard surgery. I am fused C3-7, after failed C-6-7 with plate. It worked out for me and I have less pain. It sounds like you have great doctors working for you. Have hope all will turn out ok. ginnie
hi gabby i just recently had a fusion of c4 thru 7 wth pins and plate..2weeks post op..still having some issues wth swallowing..and some pain.please tell me of ur experiance.thanks tiny1
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Unread 02-12-2011, 06:30 PM   #4
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Hi Gabby ~ I just wanted to let you know that even with decompression surgery, the chance of the "domino" effect taking place is pretty high. I had 2 such surgeries on the lumbar spine, and not long after, the levels below failed. So I just hope that after your husbands decompression surgery, the levels below his surgery site don't fail too. This seems to happen more often than not. Unfortunately, the doctors don't tell us this. I KNOW that in your husbands case he NEEDS to have this surgery, but for others who just want relief of pain, they could have by-passed the surgery and opted for pain management and physical therapy.

I wish you and your husband the best of luck. I hope he has no more problems. God bless and take care. Hugs, Lee
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Unread 02-13-2011, 01:16 AM   #5
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Thanks for everyones input.

As far as my experience with back issues it has all been learning through what my husband has gone through. It all started with minor back issues as a younger man 30-38, than he was a passenager in a car accident in 2000 and the fun started. His first back surgery was a failed fusion 2002 and 4 years later he had a complete revision at HSS in NYC and today he has no pain, no meds. So of course we are using the same doctors. I can only hope for success. He has no choice in the matter his hand is unbelievable and it happened just one day 2 months ago when we woke up. His PCP and we went a shoulder surgeon all said the same and it seems pretty cut and dry. We have another day of test on Monday and I think it will be scheduled as early as possibly late next week.

Thanks again,

Gabbycakes
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Unread 02-14-2011, 05:47 PM   #6
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hi gabby i just recently had a fusion of c4 thru 7 wth pins and plate..2weeks post op..still having some issues wth swallowing..and some pain.please tell me of ur experiance.thanks tiny1
Hi Gabby,just a quick update on my recovery.Today is week 3,so far things seem to be slowly getting better.however wont really know until i am totally off pain meds,and am able to do SOMETHING..my apt will be next week,i will get an xrqay of neck and then we will take it from there.I also wear a BONE STIMULATOR , to promote bone growth.My drs and the staff at hosp. were awesome.I pray ur husband does well,listens to what they tell u to do.God Bless,Tiny 1
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Unread 02-14-2011, 10:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gabbycakes View Post
Hi All,

My husband is having cervical spine surgery due to a nerve compression and bulging disc in the c7-t1 and c1 area, I believe those are the areas of question. He has had 2 lumbar fusion the first one was a disaster then it had a revision done my a top surgeon had great success. We are using the same group of doctors this one just specializes in the cervical area. Anyway his symtoms started out of the clear blue with a clawing hand, no pain and numbness in the hand. The hand is really bad. We have been told this can become very serious and needs to be fixed immediately. So we have spend the last 2 days in NYC doing all kinds of test seeing addional doctors to confer with etc. We have to go again on Monday and then he has a phone conference with his surgeon.

From what I understand the type of surgery that he will be doing is a very simple really no pain just releasing the nerve and then just possible cleaning the disc in the area, he stated this is nothing like the lumbar fusion he had.

I wish I had a more technical dx. but I will on Monday.They have been rushing us from neurologist,to MRI, back to the surgeons office it been nuts. But any input would be greatly appreciated, any questions we should ask, anything.


Thanks,

Gabbycakes
Hi Gabbycakes,
I'm having an cervical fusion of C5, C6, & C7 in 2 weeks (March 2nd to be exact). I have nerve compression in my shoulder, traps, and down both my arms, much worse on my right arm and hand. The pain is relentless, and after 8 months of waiting, PT and everything else, I'm very anxious for surgery and possible relief. My neurosurgeon has given quite positive outcomes for this surgery with an 80% chance that it will cure all my pinched nerves and pain, so I'm very hopeful.

I have a lot of DDD in my family, my father has had a 3 level fusion on his lumber area, and has had his cervical spine done 15 years ago and is looking at having a repeat of his neck done for a 'touch up'. I'm hoping I will not need quite so much work, since I'm only 40 and have such an active lifestyle I would like to get back to.

I will keep you posted on how my surgery goes, or you can watch my posts for information, but i wish you and your husband all the best. This forum has been a wealth of information for me in what to expect, how to prepare and what questions to ask my surgeon. I hope you find it as useful.

Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions... take care and I hope he has a speedy recovery!!
Cathie
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Unread 02-16-2011, 07:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbycakes View Post
Hi All,

My husband is having cervical spine surgery due to a nerve compression and bulging disc in the c7-t1 and c1 area, I believe those are the areas of question. He has had 2 lumbar fusion the first one was a disaster then it had a revision done my a top surgeon had great success. We are using the same group of doctors this one just specializes in the cervical area. Anyway his symtoms started out of the clear blue with a clawing hand, no pain and numbness in the hand. The hand is really bad. We have been told this can become very serious and needs to be fixed immediately. So we have spend the last 2 days in NYC doing all kinds of test seeing addional doctors to confer with etc. We have to go again on Monday and then he has a phone conference with his surgeon.

From what I understand the type of surgery that he will be doing is a very simple really no pain just releasing the nerve and then just possible cleaning the disc in the area, he stated this is nothing like the lumbar fusion he had.

I wish I had a more technical dx. but I will on Monday.They have been rushing us from neurologist,to MRI, back to the surgeons office it been nuts. But any input would be greatly appreciated, any questions we should ask, anything.


Thanks,

Gabbycakes
Hi Gabby,

A one (disc) level fusion is not a big deal really, if your surgeon is competent. I'm not sure if you meant C7-T1 fusion which would involve two (disc) levels. Incidence of non-union goes up some when fusing two contiguous disc levels. I am also not sure what you mean by the C1 area as there is no disc between the occiput and C1 and between C1 and C2.

I had a C5-C6 PEEK cage and anterior plate fusion for disc hernia related to a car accident. I had a very highly skilled neurosurgeon, spine fellowship-trained so it was not that big of a deal. Pain was annoying, swallowing was a pain in the butt for a bit but more than anything, I was plain bored for that 1 month of sitting at home. Pain meds easily controlled any discomfort. Now the shoulder reconstruction and CRPS 2 months later was a different story!

With a claw hand, surgery is certainly necessary and chances are very good that any result will likely be better than where he is now.

Good luck!
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Unread 02-17-2011, 06:44 AM   #9
gabbycakes
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Hi Gabby,

A one (disc) level fusion is not a big deal really, if your surgeon is competent. I'm not sure if you meant C7-T1 fusion which would involve two (disc) levels. Incidence of non-union goes up some when fusing two contiguous disc levels. I am also not sure what you mean by the C1 area as there is no disc between the occiput and C1 and between C1 and C2.

I had a C5-C6 PEEK cage and anterior plate fusion for disc hernia related to a car accident. I had a very highly skilled neurosurgeon, spine fellowship-trained so it was not that big of a deal. Pain was annoying, swallowing was a pain in the butt for a bit but more than anything, I was plain bored for that 1 month of sitting at home. Pain meds easily controlled any discomfort. Now the shoulder reconstruction and CRPS 2 months later was a different story!

With a claw hand, surgery is certainly necessary and chances are very good that any result will likely be better than where he is now.

Good luck!
Thank you Dubious,

Yes, you are correct it's the C7-T1 area. He will be having this procedure done at the Hospital For Special Surgery in NYC. He has had a Lumbar Fusion with them with great success. Actually his Lumbar was a revision because the first surgeon different hospital did a terrible job. Once I get the exact terminology of the procedure I will post and appreciate any input.

Will post once I know more.

Thanks again,

Gabbycakes
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Unread 02-20-2011, 04:05 AM   #10
gabbycakes
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Hi All,

My husband will be having surgery on Friday, Feb. 25. It will be a 1 level posterior fusion at the c7-t1. As I have said before he had a lumbar revision with this same group of doctors with great success. Just a little nervous my husband will not take any narcotic pain meds. After his last fusion he just had enough will all the meds. so he stopped, not any easy task, he was on the fentanly patch among other things. So he's been off everything for more than 2 years so that is the only thing that's making me nervous. I can take anything except for watching people in pain it just kills me. They tell him he will not have pain like with the lumbar and they will take care of it if he should be to uncomfortable. My pain management doctor from the same hospital will be seeing him daily just in case.

I would appreciate any advise good or bad. Like I said I'm a little nervous this time. We have been through alot with his parents both being sick with lung cancer. His dad passed 3 years ago and his mom has stage 4 lung cancer currently. It's just been a tough couple of years.

Thanks,

Gabbycakes
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