Surgery on C-Spine: The neurosurgeon... - My MSAA Community

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Surgery on C-Spine


The neurosurgeon showed me what's going on with my c-spine with pictures from the MRI and flexion-extension X-rays. Surgery would likely fix all the issues, the main one being spinal cord and nerve compression causing me pain in my left arm and shoulder. For now, it waxes and wanes, so I can live with it, but it will probably only get worse. I could try to live with it, try some PT, or just have the surgery and get it taken care of. It would mean fusing 3 vertebrae and probably spending one night in the hospital. My cost, if done right now, would be probably pretty low, and it could be done before next year.

I only remember surgeries done many years ago. Does anyone have more recent experience?

80 Replies

You have my prayers. I hope the best for you

greaterexp in reply to Turtlepie

Thank you!

Good luck with whatever you decide:)

Thank you!


🖐 yes, raising my hand here!

greaterexp in reply to Hidden

Pro or con?

Hidden in reply to greaterexp

Definitely a “PRO”

I am better then I was but NOT where I would like to be

I wish I would have not been so stubborn, when I started having health weakness and numbness in my feet. Maybe it wouldn’t have got so bad...but I just kept working with it for a year and half.

As I have stated before....The Neurosurgeon wouldn’t give me any ‘guarantees’. He told me surgery, would hopefully keep me from being ‘bed-bound’.

My MRI looked terrible! I could see it ! He didn’t give me an option to wait, nor did I want to wait.

C4,5 & 6 Fused—-I think 🤔 I am actually an inch shorter

That had to clean up my neck and remove a vertebrae-

Spinal Cord damage....

Dr. says recovery can take up to 18 months or NOT with me because of the damage to my spinal cord.

Surgery was about 4 hours and “typically” home after a day in the hospital....but because I live alone, with no help, I was kept for two weeks....I ate bacon 🥓 everyday and did physical therapy too . I had to wear the neck brace for three months and was limited on lifting .

The actual incision (front) healed quickly and minimal scar—-blends in nicely, with my old lady wrinkles! 😃

It is not that bad dear.... I would recommend.

Before any more possible damage to your compression of the spinal cord.

Prayers 🙏 to you and feel free to ask me anything.

greaterexp in reply to Hidden

Thank you so much!

My prayers are with you. Always a hard decision to make when having surgery or trying to tolerate the symptoms. Praying you receive a clear answer. I’m scared of a colonoscopy right now and going back and forth.

greaterexp in reply to JSSimp

Colonoscopies are such a breeze now, compared to years ago. No, the prep isn’t fun, but mine wasn’t bad. I went to sleep, woke up, and it was done. Pain free. Colon cancer is pretty tough, so it’s well worth getting the colonoscopy.

JSSimp in reply to greaterexp

Thanks for the input.

Prep is gaggy but once that's done...piece of cake.


I have not had any surgery that required a stay in the hospital, greaterexp ~ yet

I am curious as to what to expect with your upcoming surgery. Let us know when you decide to do it. :-D

No personal experience. I would imagine tough decision (tougher given the pandemic). Wishing you well.

greaterexp in reply to erash

Hubby is starting to have memory issues, and I need to consider that, too, as this will cause him stress.

erash in reply to greaterexp

So sorry—more complex for sure...

Morllyn in reply to greaterexp

If you wait his memory issues may be worse and then you will have more reason not to have it done. If that is your main concern then have it done.

❤️ It is your decision though.

greaterexp in reply to Morllyn

Those are my thoughts, too.

I have heard good and bad things with any back surgery. You just need to make sure you have a great dr that has done this before and then make the decision this is what you want/need at this time. My thoughts are with you as you go through this. Keep us updated.

greaterexp in reply to bxrmom

Thank you. I've checked into his record a bit, and it looks good.

bxrmom in reply to greaterexp

That's always a comfort :)

I will pray everything goes well.


greaterexp in reply to lbenmaor

Thank you!

Hidden in reply to lbenmaor


greaterexp in reply to Hidden

Thank you!

I had an ACDF of C5&6. Went in one afternoon, next morning, hour and half surgery, went home next morning. They went in through my throat, nice neat line in a neck wrinkle. Throat was a bit horse for a few weeks after, but the pain in my right arm and my jaw disappeared in a couple of weeks. No issues about any of it. The major plus was I am not paralysed like they said would happen if I didn’t get it done. 🙏 as always , blessings Jimeka

Hidden in reply to jimeka



greaterexp in reply to jimeka

Great! I think I'll get it over with.

Humbrd in reply to jimeka

That is very encouraging to hear. Hoping greaterexp has relief from all her symptoms if she chooses to do the surgery. I have had problems with c5 and c6 for years and now to the spinal cord. They have mentioned surgery. But I'm not ready to do it. You always hear the unsuccessful stories like my neighbor. She had surgery and stayed in the hospital for weeks. She couldn't eat afterwards and they wanted to put in a feeding tube. So that really scared me. It is good to hear from others where it turned out well.

IFwczs in reply to Humbrd

They say after the first fusion surgery, you need another one, and another one, and so on and so forth. I personally used to work with someone who needed 2 more fusion surgeries after the first one. He eventually ended up in a wheelchair.

My brother had 3,4,and five fused and was back playing racketball 6 months later. Went really well, but he was in pretty good shape prior to surgery. Was walking five miles every day after 6 weeks. Everyone is different, but went well for him. Good luck on your decision 🤞👍🙏🤗 Ken 🐾🐾

greaterexp in reply to Kenu

Mine would be the same vertebrae. Thank you for the encouragement!

Good luck I hope everything turns out well

greaterexp in reply to Tazmanian

Thank you!

So hope it all goes well for u honey xxxxx 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Thank you, you sweet thing!

I had the same surgery, C4-7, three years ago. As surgery goes, it was a very good experience. I went back to work 2 weeks later. I felt so much better afterwards! Until I fell and broke my neck about 2 years ago and messed everything up. Find a good neurosurgeon and get it evaluated. Praying you get the answers you need.

greaterexp in reply to cindyrn68

Thank you for letting me know your results. I'm so sorry you had a bad fall. My sister-in-law recently had a bad fall with lots of damage, but she's doing much better. I hope you are now.

prayers for a fast recovery ..take care and be safe...

Thank you very much. I'll keep everyone posted on the surgery date.

Just wishing you the best. Easy or not, if I was in your situation, I'd not give up. Yes big decision, but I only know of good, not all perfect, but good results.

Thank you for taking the time to send some encouragement!

I know a prayerful decision. Prayers your way

greaterexp in reply to Brindisi1

Bless you for those prayers!

so sorry,don't let the timeline and money rush you into a decision,but i say fix it but there is no guarantee ,makes me nervous,i can only imagine you

greaterexp in reply to pamgarner

Thank you so much. I think if insurance approves it, I will go ahead. There are many things to consider, but the timing seems best. I realize that there is a small risk of setting off a relapse, and there is a chance that the problems won't be fixed as well as we hope. There is risk with any surgery, but we have to weigh the risks against the benefits with each one.

pamgarner in reply to greaterexp

what happened to guarantee's?

greaterexp in reply to pamgarner

Wouldn't that be marvelous? Of course, that could work both ways!

I am sure you've tried a chiropractor or several. Have you ever heard of Gonstead chiropractors?

greaterexp in reply to IFwczs

Chiropractors could do nothing for all these issues, but thank you.

Well my friend you are covered/bathed in prayer. I too have cervical, thoracic & lumbar issues. Surgery on the later two. We love you and lift you to the Master physician. God bless you.

greaterexp in reply to robster1

How encouraging and kind you are! Thank you and everyone who keeps me in prayer. It means so much!

Hidden in reply to robster1

robster1 , we got this!

ALL of us in prayer🙏...can hold greaterexp in prayer!

greaterexp in reply to Hidden

You all are so wonderful! Bless you all, and thank you!

Love and prayers are with you, Linda

greaterexp in reply to leking1

I very much appreciate both!

Hope and prayers coming your way. I have no experience with that kind of surgery. But whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out best for you.

greaterexp in reply to Peruzzot

Thank you. I feel sure I will do well. I will have to convince my sweet husband that there's nothing to stress about. I'll see if I can enlist some help from neighbors to check in on me to take the weight off of him, and I'll have meals ready so he doesn't have to worry about that. I'm more concerned for him than for me!

Hoping you get relief if you decide to have the surgery. You have a positive attitude, so I believe you will do very well. 🍀

greaterexp in reply to Humbrd

Thank you so much.

Best of luck and prayers to you.

greaterexp in reply to Smithnova

Thank you for your kind words!


Yup! Had it a yr ago!😂🤣😂 I spent an extra 2 nights at the hospital, because I'm alone.

Just listen to what the Dr says greaterexp if he says it's dangerous? Get it done! 🤗💕💕

greaterexp in reply to Jesmcd2

Thank you so much. I'm just waiting to hear that it's been approved by insurance. I hope to get it done before the end of the year.

The only spinal fusing I've had personal experience with was my son who had an S for a backbone. He had his entire spine fused (and it made him "grow" 4 inches!) I always figure if I ever need that done, he did fine with the entire thing so I would be okay.

Prayers for you!

Thank you so much.

You could go check with physical therapy maybe see if they feel they could help you. Maybe just some traction would help for now.

He did offer PT with some traction. I'm just thinking it would be better in the long run to just get it fixed, as it probably will progress anyway.

It may and it may take constant attention/ traction on a regular basis. But if you were against surgery-

I found an inflatable neck brace that i do neck traction with. It feels so awesome. I use it to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms (that originate in my cervical spineI’m pretty sure). And to relieve neck pains. But maybe I’m not as involved as u

I’m so glad you found something that helps.

My husband had C3-C4-C5 fused 20 years ago and hasn't had much trouble since. He sets off the metal detectors at the airports cuz he has titanium plates instead of wire holding it all together. But he could use his arms afterward. He was a hairdresser and instructor and shaky hands didn't work too well for that. They have come a lot farther since then with technology.

So true. I hope he’s still doing well.

I know what you mean from what I saw as a nurse 30 years ago. Spinal surgeries were frequently having to be redone and didn't seem to help much. I have seen tremendous improvement in outcomes since the neurosurgeon specialty took it over from orthopedic surgeons.

I think I would get it done now. PT and that would likely provide only partial relief and take as much time to help as the recovery from surgery would or perhaps longer.

Praying for healing 🙏🙏

greaterexp in reply to ahrogers

Thank you for responding! I didn't see great results all those years ago, and it gave me pause. I appreciate your encouragement.


greaterexp in reply to CynthiaS

Thank you!

best wishes. My mom had 4 neck vertebrae fused because of RA damage and pain. Surgery was not a big deal and it brought her a lot of relief but, of course, she lost a bit in flexibility. Good luck.

Thank you. My biggest concern is loss of flexibility, too, but as long as I can keep sewing and quilting, I'll be thrilled.

Sorry to hear you are dealing with this. Prayers that all goes well

greaterexp in reply to mm1527mm

I sure appreciate it. Surgery is tomorrow at 1:45. Can't wait to have it over with!

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