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I've already made up my mind and decided that I want surgery to fix the numbness, stiffness and weakness on my left arm accompanied with back pain due to a herniated disc between C5/C6 after a car accident.  It sounds like anterior cervical discectomies have a high success rate, especially if it's only a level 1 fusion.  I'm comfortable with this decision.  What I'm now having to choose is between two surgeons - a neuro/spine versus an ortho/spine surgeon.  Both are very qualified surgeons, both come with good referrals, in the Orange County area but one of the main factors I'm deciding on is the type of instrumentation they're using to fuse.  Neuro/spine doc is going to use a sillicate substitute calcium phosphate as the bone graft substitute with a trabecular metal cage while the ortho/spine guy is going to use a DBM with metal prongs within the cage to provide stability.  Neuro/spine doc is going to use a titanium metal plate versus ortho/spine who's going to use a cadaver bone.  From what I've read on some of the threads, a lot of people have  complained about lump in the throat and terrible pain post surgery with a titanium plate.  I've been forewarned about this but doc says it only happens to 10% of the patients... 90% recover well and the lump in the throat feeling goes away after a couple of months. I haven't seen a lot of people post about using a cadaver bone as the plate.  Ortho/spine uses cadaver and says it causes less of the throat discomfort since it's a thinner plate than the titanium plate. So I'm wondering what the benefits are to using either or and if anyone has thoughts about going one way or another.  I have about 2 weeks to decide on which surgeon I want to go with so trying to do my due diligence on researching side effects and complications of each method.

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Hey. I had the surgery 2 weeks ago. I had a titanium plate with cadavor bones put in my neck, i had 2 herniated discs that were pressing on my spinal cord and making my arms and legs go numb. They went in through the front. Surgery went very well. Dr told me it would feel like streph throat for 5 days. Id have to say that was the worst part. Have a brace on for 1 more week, i feel great . i was very happy with the dr i had. Have you had your surgery yet?  Tina from Syracuse NY

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Hi Tina. I had surgery last Friday - discectomy with 1 level fusion. Neurosurgeon used a device that doesn't require an external plate since it's already integrated with the cage. So I think that's why I'm not having such an issue with my throat. Much of my discomfort is still The numbness and weakness in my left hand which came back after surgery. It's been a 9/10 for the last few days which is concerning me a little. But my doc said its pretty standard just because of the previous irritation plus inflammation from surgery. Also I aggravated it by sitting in a twisted position for 20 secs. Kicked my muscle spasms on high. Have you had the same issue with weakness and numbness? - Angela
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Greetings. I automatically would opt for the neuro doc. Let me tell you, I had the ACDF C5-7 two years ago this coming January. My original surgeon took out two discs, put in cadaver bone and installed a titanium plate with only one screw per vertebrae. It did not heal correctly, the bone did not fuse and because he only used one screw per, one of the screws bored an even bigger hole in my vertebrae. I went to a neurosurgeon for the second surgery, a year ago this past August. He had to go in posteriorly and fuse from C4-7. C5, which had the loose screw, was unstable and because I have a reverse lordosis, C4 was threatening to slip forward. It was not an easy decision, but the damage was done from the first surgery, so therefore a correction had to be made. The posterior fix is well healed and my surgeon was able to secure his bi-lateral rods with two screws per vertebrae, except for C5. Very best wishes for a speedy and successful recovery!!
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I had some weakness in my arms and legs. I'm going in for Carpal Tunnel in a few weeks. Everyone keeps asking me if I feel better, but I think it's to soon to tell. They say it could take up to 6 months to a year to really be able to tell. I hope everything goes well with you. I will be trying the shots in my back for the spinal stenosis after the holidays, I pray that works ...I still do my daily activities but having a little less pain would be great. LOL You turn another year older and look what happens..Good Luck to you. Keep me posted on how youre Doing.
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I had this surgery 13 years ago. I had degenerative disc and collapsed disc at C4-C5. My symptoms were numbness in both arms up to the elbows, dragging right leg, terrible imbalance. If I closed my eyes I fell over. My neurosugeon suggested using the cadaver bone as opposed to titantium plate as the plates were used for more than one level. He said I would have to wear a neck brace (looked like a cage) for no less than 2 months. I even had a similar brace for the shower made of hard rubber. The doc assured me there wouldn't be much pain associated afterwards and believe it or not, other than a minor sore throat which went away very quickly, I never had an pain and never took one pain pill. I was up and talking to visitors that night and they were amazed at how well they said I looked and how I felt. The symptons I was experiencing before the surgery disappeared almost immediately. I am left with Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of the spine) but it not affected my daily life. The doc at first thought he may need to do a cervical laminectomy but I didn't need it. 13 years later and 13 years older, I am still doing very well. I was 58 years old when I had the surgery. Having said that, a friend of mine just had the same surgery this past Thursday - Her doc used a cadaver bone and the titanium plate . She has a horrible sore throat and said she feels like she is gagging and has pain or soreness in the back of her neck. I have seen youtube videos of people who had this same surgery, some with the plate and some with the bone, and some with both and I am conviinced I must have gotten lucky because I had none of those problems The worst part was wearing the brace for two months and not being able to drive, I was back at work in two weeks. I hope this helps

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Hi,had mine done 8 weeks ago and my surgeon went through the back of my neck,c4/5/6 the only pain I had was and still is in my neck,my throats fine,still recovering slowly,I had plates put in.
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I am having surgery in December, and honestly for me what works. i have a weaker right side to left, but I have the tingles, numbness and such all over arms and legs it comes and go. I am wondering if it comes from the car accident in 1998. total degeneration and urgently needed.
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Hello I had my Surgery back in 2009 fused my Vertebraes in my neck an inserted the plate . Now it's 2017 an no more Numbness in my arms an no Paralysis in my neck. I'm 100% better.
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Tina, I suffered “permanent cervical spine injury” from a head-on “accident” on a busy L.A. #405 freeway on a rainy Jan. nite. Crash caused by a jerk on drugs who had come onto an off-ramp from the freeway driving north into southbound traffic. He hit me head on. I didn’t realize for five weeks the severity of thei trauma I had sustained. (Both boy-kiddies young. I was too busy to wonder why I hurt so badly) . Ortho doc diagnosed. This was in the 1960s!
Fortunately, I survived well until 1993 pain led me to seek relief. I underwent double anterior laminectomies under the hands of a superior, female neurosurgeon who had been Head Nurse on the Neuro Ward, L.A. “Big County” Hospital for 13 years before she decided to go back to medical school (USC) to BECOME a neurosurgeon. As skilled and knowledgeable as she was, “my docs never listen to suggestions.
She, my Nurse-Doctor performed the [above] operative procedure, removing two cervical laminae, and applied a Titanium tray packed with cadaver bone in the cervical spine for stabilization. Easy recovery. No post-op complications.
Times have changed. Today the procedure would probably be different. I’m pleased with my result. I’m a Nurse Specialist in Plastic and ReconstrIve Surgery, UCLA X 10 years, “retired”, so I know enough to be dangerous. A year prior to the cervical procedure, I underwent triple laminectomies in the lumbar spine with no fusion —the same neurosurgeon. Again, complete success in alliviating that pain—seven-hour procedure. . . “ like picking desiccated crabmeat (squished dice) from between piano wires, the latter being fragile nerves. (The “piano wire” was for visual imagination, only.) Risky, but necesssary procedure.
Now severe scoliosis and need for a right hip replacement allow me “talk” for cocktail parties! Kidding. Hip replacement in 20-days. Yay! Scoliodis is severe, but will not go thru neurosurgical spinal reconstruction; too “if”-y (stroke, heart-attack risks). I have a Special Needs child—young man who has his own super life, goes to (non-profit) school learning computer and knowing math and lives in a 6-“kid” home, two guys, four gals, having his own normal environment. His home and school are approximately a 30” drive for us. So, my Priority is to “be here” for him, clearing the road ahead—always strewn with governmental and medical stuff— and for our three other grown children AND a super spouse, Procedure to rebuild my spine with goal to alleviate the spinal pain has too many risks at my age= “mature”. I can live with it. As a specialist nurse, I’ve worked with many, many patients who have much worse pain to survive than my problematic challenge. And, not an after-thought, I’m a Christian. I have God, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit as my core. “He” is enough (the Holy Trinity).
Marilyn

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I Had The Surgery with Cadaver bone And 2 Plates in 2009 healed very fast pain in arms and neck where gone did Very Well Until 2016 started having slight pain now it is getting worse I Am seeing Doctor now for the new trouble but until 2016 was very Happy With The Surgery
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Had cadaver bone and titanium plate placed in c spine in.2005. Immediate and long term outcome coukd not have been better. Anterior approacb anx done by Neurosurgeon. Ortho ok for my knees, dtc. But wanted Neuro to deal with spinal nerves. Wish you the best.
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