Hello fellow spine fusion patients,
I just got my cervical MRI without contrast report, Friday evening and can't talk to my doctor till Monday. I had ACDF C4-C7 9 months ago. I know no one on here are doctors, but I'm hoping someone can give me some hope or positive possibilities. I have been crying hard ever since I saw this MRI report because:
1. It looks like I may have disc herniation material left behind on my spine where I was fused.
2. My surgeon told me I will probably never need spinal surgery again (despite the statistics that say otherwise). My C7-T1 were unremarkable and now somewhere in the last year since my pre-surgery MRI I have: "a small disc herniation, neuroforaminal narrowing at C7-T1 with possible involvement of exiting C8 nerve roots. Correlate with exam." I know I have C8 pain from my neck down through to my hands on both sides. I only had two episodes were I may have injured it. One, was a sharp whiplash jolt I had as a passenger in the car 4/2015, after my MRI last year, but before my surgery. Two, I hit a huge pothole 3 weeks ago in the fog and felt horrible C8 pain after.
Has anyone out there had an MRI of their fusion site and have had the radiologist make comments like:
"residual disc at C5-C6 with effacement and slight flattening of the ventral thecal sac and cord, without cord compression"
Well, which is it, cord compression or not? Is this possibly stating that my surgeon left some of the disc herniation pieces behind pressing on my cord? Is there a good reason if it is? Or is the radiologist possibly referring to the "dent" left from where the disc herniation was. I have been told our spinal cords are like plastic straws. Once they are crushed there is usually a permanent dent left behind even after the piece that is pressing is removed.
Also at C4-C5 the comment is "Disc spacer at this level. Small left lateral disc with left neuroforaminal narrowing but no definitive exiting nerve root impingement."
I thought the fusion surgery was to remove all bone spurs and discs completely so there wouldn't be any narrowing.
At the C6-C7 it states no disc herniation which is where I had a severe one before the surgery. It was also severe at C5-C6 and moderate at C4-C5.
Can anyone tell me if it reads like disc material was left behind or if it is just the residual damage done from when their were discs there? Also, has anyone herniated next to their fusion so fast and it has healed back? Or they never needed more fusion? I wish there was something encouraging to hear. I know we all come here mostly because things aren't going well and if they are we wouldn't be on here, but I hope someone has some good news. I was at least hoping to last another 10 to 20 years without more fusion surgery! Ugh!! What can I do to protect myself from further damage? How do you strengthen through doing physical therapy when the smallest accident can cause trouble?
Thank you for any positive information you may have to offer!