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  1. #1
    Senior Member Flopsy's Avatar
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    Cervical disc prolapse

    Hi strangers. In keeping with the fact that my body seems to have been falling apart in recent years resulting in quite a lot of operations, this years body fail is a prolapsed disc in my neck compressing the nerve canal and causing pain, numbness and tingling in my left arm and hand. Confusingly the neurosurgeon thinks it originally prolapsed quite some time ago but it wasn't until a mountain bike accident in February that it began compressing the nerve canal.
    Anyway, after several months the NHS finally diagnosed the prolapse and referred me to the neurosurgeon. Reluctant to operate he seemed to think it would heal itself with medication and physio and time. It hasn't and there is some concern that it has actually got worse and so I have to have a second MRI.
    Having bigged up the risks of surgery he seems to think that is where I'm headed. Removal of the disc and replacement with a carbon fibre cage and titanium plate.
    I just don't know what to do as I am terrified of the surgery - the risks of damage to the spinal cord, nerves and voice seem quite high at 1in100. Equally there is no guarantee the operation will stop my symptoms. In my case I've been told the likelihood is some permanent nerve damage already. But equally I'm suffering. I still can't run - the last attempt left me unable to move my neck for two days. Driving and other day to day stuff aggravates it and I'm starting to struggle to play guitar now too. But my Physio doesn't seem to think surgery is the best option and I should just give it more time.
    Has anyone had this op and what was the recovery like and did it relieve symptoms? I'm definitely confused and scared.com 😕

  2. #2
    Master that_fjell_guy's Avatar
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    Blimey! What can I say!? I can't help apart from by wishing you well and, hopefully a full as possible recovery! Best of luck Flopsy!
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    Hi flopsy
    i had a prolapsed disc and had my op 4 weeks today,best thing I had done.if you've had the pain for months then in my experiance it won't go any better.trust your neurosurgeon more than your physio.if you leave it you could damage your nerve more.

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    Senior Member Flopsy's Avatar
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    Glad yours was successful gas bottle. You must be relieved. Was it a cervical disc?
    The thought of them cutting my throat open in itself is not a pleasant one but the fear of paralysis from the neck down just fills me with horror.
    Think some nerve damage is already there sadly. Been 3 yrs since the original accident and 7months since the mountain bike crash. Damn NHS refused to do any diagnostic tests until April this year. Neurosurgeon was furious about the delay when I told him.
    They said 3 months before I could be active again IF I go ahead with surgery. Is that what you've been told?

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    Mine was heniated disc around l4 l5 area of the spine,I did mine on my mountain bike over 5 years ago and disc came out,with a few sessions at the physio it used to calm down ,I used to get flare ups 2 to 3 times a year,then October last year it happend again but never calmed down,so had over 15 sessions on traction at the physio and still no good,so had my MRI scan and results showed herniated disc.i had an appointment with neurosurgeon at salford royal and he said it wasn't to bad to operate and put me on pain killers.then in may I started getting really bad sciatica down one side,no sleep no working no running,tramadol and pregabalin and cocodomol,had another MRI scan waited 8 weeks for results and soon has results came back,the neurosurgeon had me in hospital within a week,the op was such a relief could sleep proper and before op couldn't even sit down had to lie on the floor.there was a guy in the bed opposite who had same op has what you'd be having and he was up and about within hours,sneaking downstairs for a cig.the neurosurgeon won't op unless necessary he'd prob give you an option on pain killers or injection in your back but all your doing is prolonging the problem,if I could have afforded it I'd have gone private 8 months ago and got it done.

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    Senior Member Flopsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by that_fjell_guy View Post
    Blimey! What can I say!? I can't help apart from by wishing you well and, hopefully a full as possible recovery! Best of luck Flopsy!
    Thanks.

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    Hi Flopsy.
    I would await the result of the second MRI - the disc may not be in a worse position, despite your symptoms.
    Fingers - and everything else - crossed for you.

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    Senior Member Flopsy's Avatar
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    Hi Mike. I've agreed that if the MRI shows further deterioration I will have surgery as I can't risk further damage. But if it doesn't then I need to make the decision whether I want the surgery or not. Oddly I need to make my decision before I know the outcome of the scan as they won't tell me the results until my next appointment. The surgeon was always against surgery but seems to have changed his mind with my on going symptoms. My Physio wants me to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary. I'm confused. Scared by the risks but struggling with the symptoms for so long.

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    When I was working I saw quite a few people who needed or had had back or neck surgery - these people had either spinal cord or cauda equina compression (the multiple nerve roots at the bottom end of the cord), so they had an even more serious condition than just individual nerve root compression; they basically had no choice but to have surgery - none had a "bad" outcome, though some were disappointed that their symptoms did not improve after surgery, or improve as much as they would have liked. The realistic outcome from surgery is that it stops people getting worse - some get improvement, some lucky ones dramatic improvement, but many remain about the same - of course some unlucky ones have a bad outcome, but I never saw this.
    Multiple anecdotes is not the same as data of course.
    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Flopsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T View Post
    When I was working I saw quite a few people who needed or had had back or neck surgery - these people had either spinal cord or cauda equina compression (the multiple nerve roots at the bottom end of the cord), so they had an even more serious condition than just individual nerve root compression; they basically had no choice but to have surgery - none had a "bad" outcome, though some were disappointed that their symptoms did not improve after surgery, or improve as much as they would have liked. The realistic outcome from surgery is that it stops people getting worse - some get improvement, some lucky ones dramatic improvement, but many remain about the same - of course some unlucky ones have a bad outcome, but I never saw this.
    Multiple anecdotes is not the same as data of course.
    Good luck.
    Oddly I replied to this but the post disappeared. Take two....

    Yes I know I'm lucky not to have damage to the spinal cord. Although I don't feel lucky (plenty of people fall off bikes and aren't injured at all) the surgeon, physio and GP have made it quite clear that I am lucky. However, quality of life is also important and nerve compression may not be life threatening or cause paralysis but it is debilitating and has quite an affect on life. The flip side being I'd rather have the symptoms that I have now than paralysis. I am very aware that the surgery is quite often not a cure and in fact can make it worse. Thats' the reason for my confusion about what's the best thing to do.

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