Surgery or wait?

Hi im a 36yr old  Coronary nurse care nurse who recently suffered prolpase c5/c6 and central protrusion c6/c7 nearly 6 weeks ago.

After a week in hospital and an MRI scan.  I have been told/given a variety of advice, some conflicting.

I have reduced sensation and power of my right arm. But my mainly pain is under my shoulder blade up into my neck and then into my shoulder.  

Ive been offered a anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery.  But given the risks of the surgery i was a like reluctant to go on the surgical list without exploring my options.

Steriod injections won't fix the problem but will treat the symptoms. Acupuncture and traction also unlikely to fix the problem.

I need to be able to perform CPR, work 12.5hr days and run a busy shift. With 30 yrs left to work in the NHS.

I am currently unable to drive due to the high doses of medication including gabapebtin naproxen diazepam and codeine amongst others.

I am worried the longer i leave my descision the more permenant damage i could be doing? 

Does anyone have any advice?

Has anyone had this surgery?

Many thanks in advance.



  • Hello shazgg

    You sound like me three years ago.  I have tried many things with only temp relief at best.  I have had so many injections I have lost count.  Ice, heat, tens unit, pt, meds of all kinds chiro adjustments, they all have failed.  I finally gave in to two level acdf with instrumentation.  I will have surgery in about four weeks.  I just am tired of the pain and sleepless nights, not to mention horrible headaches.  Good luck and let me know if I can help

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,299
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM
    hello shaz79 !
    Welcome to Veritas Health Forumplease click on link for helpful information!
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  • Hi Shaz79

    So sorry to hear of your pain and such a serious situation to have to deal with.

    I have problems at C5/6 and C4/5 which are linked with moderate to severe forminal stenosis which are causing me lots of problems in my arms, hands, shoulder and nerve pain.

    Unfortunately I have a lumbar issue that is far more urgent and needs a double level fusion so my surgeon is dealing with one thing at a time!

    However, if he had told me I had central protrusion in your area I would be asking what time my surgery is booked for.  I cannot imagine your place of work would even allow you to work with such a problem in case your condition became worse at work and it became a work related injury.  I don't want to scare you but your spinal cord at that level, if damaged permanently, would cause life changing issues.

    I am a little confused as you say you have been given conflicting advice.  Is is from your consultant?  If not, I would take his advice first as he is the expert in this area and will know the best outcome, without long term damage to your cord.

    Best of luck with moving forward and making a decision and please let us know your progress
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,340


    You sound like me 3 years ago.  I had surgery 8 months after the symptoms started, but didn't have the disk fused that caused my shoulder pain - surgeon didn't think that disc was bad...  It took almost 2 more years to figure out and have that fusion.

    I wish that I had moved faster toward surgery.  While I am much better, I think the nerves would have healed sooner.

  • I agree with the above advice ~ Don't wait to find answers on your situation. You should really be looking into many opinions and tx plans. I too work in the medical field working 12-15 hour shifts on my feet. I am recovering my third cervical surgery right now and the only thing I wish was that I didn't wait so long to do it ! I have had ACDF C5/6 without hardware (09), C6/7 with hardware (15) & now 2 weeks post op from Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion of C4-7. When it comes to compression of the spine it best not to wait because some damage can become permanent. My second surgery was not successful so I was in pain for over 2 years before finally committing to my 3rd surgery. I had all sorts of injections, PT and RFA just placing a band aid on the real issue. None of those procedures with remove the compression. After my last surgery ALL pre-surgical pain is gone ! I only seem to be dealing with the surgical pain which in time should subside.

    Good Luck with what ever choice you make !

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  • :) again I agree the only one that can really help is a doctor !
  • I'm in the same situation with the "should I or should I not" dilemma with cervical surgery. 
    I'd like to ask if I may,why you've had 3 procedures?
    From what I've been told and researched is a potential candidate for cervical spine surgeries is setting themselves up for failure and you have to keep going back for "re-do's" especially when you have osteoarthritis of the spine!
    Can you enlighten me?
    I think hearing from experience would help me decide !

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