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Doctors Lounge - Neurology Answers

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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: HERNIATED DISC SURGERY


 gilk21 - Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:54 pm

recently was in a car accident and have had pain in neck and shoulders. MRI showed spinal stenosis in c-5 - c-6 and c-3 - c-4 sections in my neck. Have severe herniated disc at c-5-c-6 area and surgeon reccomended surgery. If i opt not to have surgery and were to have another trauma there, I may be at risk for a spinal chord injury or paralysis. I am going to seek a 2nd opinion. Is there a way to get around the surgery and relieve the pain that I feel in my neck and shoulders?
 Joanna H, RN-BC - Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:11 pm

Firstly, not only am I an RN, but I have had "my own" five back surgeries in the past 18 years. First, the statistics. I haven't checked recently, but several years ago the "success rate" for your "first spinal surgery" is about 92%. Unfortunatley, after that first surgery the success rate drops dramatically for even the second and more so there after. Rule of thumb is to avoid surgery unless abosolutey necessary. Your physician will not lead you astray unless it is absolutely necessary. Also, there are "new" laser treatments available throughout the country now. It is new, but the outcomes have shown much promise in the areas of decreased invasiveness, decreased scarring, decreased nerve damage less occurance of what is referred to as "failed back surgery." Also, there are doctor's out there now that combine minimally invasive surgery combining similar to arthroscopic surgery with companion "laser." Check out all your options! You need to always remember that you don't want to wait until you have sustained substantial nerve damage which could cause many more problems such as chronic pain, neuropathy, difficulty with your bowel and bladder, etc. Cervical injuries can affect any part of your body equal to, or below the level of your injury. Glad you are getting another opinion as it is wisy to really be informed. Usually, the physician will try less intrusive alternatives before ANY type of surgery such as physical therapy, massage therapy, electrical stimulation, or steriodal injections into the affected area. Then again, it can get to the point where surgery is the only alternative.

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