Multi-Level: involving more than one.
Anterior: nearer the front, especially situated in the front of the body or nearer to the head.
Cervical: of or relating to the neck.
Discectomy: surgical removal of the whole or a part of an intervertebral disc.
Fusion: the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity.
Osteophytes: bone spurs
Excision: Surgical removal by cutting.
I received an epidural steroid injection into my neck and no relief was felt. Pain levels in my neck, shoulders, and arms got out of hand to the point where sleep was not being had. My fingers were numb, tingling, with small motor function suffering. Work, both professional and at home, was not getting done. Leaving the house was mostly out of the question. Because of these issues, my physical therapist refused to treat me and based on a discussion about various other symptoms, he said that he was running next door to the neurosurgeon’s office to determine if they could see me immediately. He came back shortly and said that they were getting me in 30 minutes. After a long exam and discussion, the doctor indicated that surgery would be the only route that would provide long term relief. After thinking about it and reading the variety of literature provided by the doctor’s office, I finally agree to proceed and it is scheduled for May 15.
The procedure will be a multi-level anterior cervical discectomy, fusion and osteophyte excision. Going in from the front of the neck, two herniated discs between vertebrae C5-C6 and C6-C7 will be removed, bone spurs impinging on nerves and spinal cord cut away, a plastic mesh containing parts of my own bone material inserted into the disc space, and titanium screws will be used to connect the three vertebrae. The entire procedure will take about 3-4 hours and I will stay in the hospital overnight. Recovery is at least 6 weeks. Here’s a nice post from Sandy who described her experiences with a similar procedure.
I’ve had three ankle surgeries and a sinus surgery. Even though the sinus surgery was very close to my brain, this one seems a little more intense. Maybe that’s because they will be putting titanium screws into my neck. Or that a hospital stay is required. Or that there’s so many life necessary parts in that area. But I trust the surgeon as he’s well qualified and trained, board certified, part of a large hospital spine center, and done many of these procedures in the past. The decision to have surgery is never to be taken lightly. But given the long term and increasingly intense pain, coupled with disability of function, it’s clearly time to proceed.