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If anyone out there is about to have this type of surgery or is thinking about having it done, my account might help.

I had had an MRI done a few months before the surgery because my neurologist wanted to see if any spine problems were causing my ataxia (Ataxia is a symptom, not a disease - it is basically a lack of coordination, and is most commonly seen as a stumbling gait - like you're drunk, but you're really not). The MRI showed two severely herniated cervical discs.

Now I didn't have this surgery with the intent that it would "cure" my Ataxia, BUT my Neuro said that it might. PLUS, I didn't have the surgery because of any pain or numbness in my arms or hands - NO PAIN, NO NUMBNESS. I had it because my MRI showed two very severely herniated cervical discs - and I didn't want to sever my spinal cord with 1) A strong sneeze, 2) Someone rear-ending me while I was in the car, or 3) Falling - which is a very real possibility considering my Ataxia.

And, the Neurosurgeon that did the operation said that the outcome of "curing" the Ataxia was not "textbook" for this kind of operation, so I didn't have much hope for that kind of outcome. Nevertheless, he did say that it was possible but that if it did have any positive impact on my Ataxia, the improvement wouldn't show up for 6 to 8 weeks. It's been over four months since the surgery, and I'm still stumbling around - so the surgery apparently didn't "cure" my ataxia.

    <digression>I had had an MRI some five years ago, and it also showed the same two herniated cervical discs that the most recent MRI showed. At that time, I went to the same Neurosurgeon who did this surgery, and when he looked at the MRI, he said, "Well . . . I can do surgery on those discs, but if you're not in any pain, it's up to you".

    I thought, "Hey, this guy isn't one of those 'let's get out the knife' kinda' guys, and I DON'T have any pain, so maybe I'll put this off". Consequently, back then, five years ago, I didn't have the surgery. I really respected and had confidence in this Neurosurgeon guy because he didn't want to cut into me right away.<end digression>

The surgeon removed two herniated cervical discs and replaced the spaces with cadaver bone. The surgery turned out to be a breeze - I was only in the hospital for a day-and-a-half, I didn't have any severe pain, and I only had to wear that bothersome hard neck collar for two weeks.

I had been worried about my neck being more prone to injury after the surgery, but the Neurosurgeon said my neck is . . . stronger . . . now than it was before the surgery because he put in a metal plate to fasten sections of my cervical spine {C4 to C6}.

I had a "bone growth stimulator" that I had to wear and use 24/7, but I only had to use that for about a month. The two electrodes that I stuck on my neck sent a small current through my cervical spine (I didn't feel anything except the irritation of those sticky electrodes on my neck) which promotes bone fusion (the cadaver bone to the vetebra). The Neurosurgeon said that when I completely heal I should have the same range of motion that I had before the operation. As it is right now, I can turn my neck pretty much like I used to, but I can't yet touch my chin to my chest.

All-in-all, the surgery was not near as bad as I thought, and within a week I felt pretty much as good as I felt before the surgery.

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I had this surgery about 1 1/2 weeks ago. I am wearing that collar and I hate it. I have to wear it for 1 month and then I too will have to wear the stimulator for 4 hours a day. The surgery wasnt as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was up walking by myself the same night that I had the surgery. Everyday it gets a little better. I still can't swallow hard stuff yet and my portions are very small. I go back in 4 days for my two weeks check appointment. I will let you know what the Doc says
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Has anyone's doctor given them what the cost might be?  Mine said there is no way of knowing.  How can a doctor do surgery on me and after doing the same surgery on others have no idea what a ball park cost would be.

This has me wondering what to do.  He does come recommended by several sources.

jim
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How much does this kind of surgery cost and does Health Insurance usually cover this?  If so......How much do they cover?

I have multiple issue's going on and am not quite sure if this is really the "cure all" answer.  I have this problem along with testing positive for Sclerederma and Arthritis.  Two very debilitating diseases in themselves.  I wonder ...... should I even do this surgery as I also have COPD...?  So therefore I heal very slowly.  I have a career, no one even knows that I am as Ill as I am as I try to stay as active and healthy as possible and never discuss.

 

I wonder.......do I really need this surgery?

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so did your throat heal back to normal. How was your pain after the surgery. How long did it take for you to get a good night sleep and eat normal again.
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