Cervical Herniation C5/C6 - with discomfort, experiences about fusion surgery
I am a 46 years old doctor a pediatrician working in a busy on call schedules. I started occasional mild neck discomfort about 15 years ago but had only one noteworthy attck 5 years back when I a needed a PT and rest for one week, MRI was not done at that time, 4 months back I had another pain episode associated with numbness in right hand and MRI done at that time showed these results.
The height of vertebral bodies and marrow signal intensity are preserved. Degenerative changes with osteophytosis are noted.
At C3-C4 level, there is diffuse degenerative disc bulge causing indentation on the thecal sac and left nerve root.
At C4/C5 level, diffuse degenerative disc bulge causing indentation on the thecal sac and both nerve roots.
At C5/C6 level, there is diffuse degenerative disc bulge compressing the thecal sac and both nerve roots, and causes indentation on the spinal cord.
At C6/C7 level, there is degenerative disc bulge indenting the thecal sac and nerve roots bilaterally.
Neurosurgeon suggested surgery; while my Neurologist wanted me to give it time to resolve itself (90% do). As a sole breadwinner for a big family I am really worried about the outcome and the life after surgery as I keep on hearing hoorendous stories
Here I am 4 months later with massive lifestyle changes less driving, no physical adventures and still have continuous dull discomfort which even sometimes hurt during sleep. I have moderate degree dull pain near nape of neck with occasional numbness and nerve pain down my right arm into hand. Sometimes I feel weakness on carrying the small luggage items and even laptop bag and feel fatigue of upper girdle while driving. Two months I also notice problem with my erection.
My neurosurgeon has planned an anterior approach decompression at C4-5 and C5-6 levels with fusion by inserting cages.
Would any body like to share that how would be life beyond after getting a cervical fusion at age of 46, what would be the limitations and problems and what about usual activities and life as a working physician who has a career ahead.