Cervical stenosis

Posted by billandri @billandri, Feb 3, 2019

I am a healthy and active 32 year old male. Last month I was diagnosed with cervical stenosis (C5-C6) after having morning finger numbness for 2 months. All 3 doctors I asked suggest surgery, either disk replacement or merging of spines. Has anyone dealt succesfully with such conditions via non surgical means? Thank you.

@billandri Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I have had disc degeneration and cervical stenosis for over 20 years. I have had 4 doctors review my MRI's and history and tell me I am not a surgical canidate (I would not see a benefit in operating) To help deal with the pain, a combination of epidural injections and pain relievers gives me the most benefit. Billandri, can you share with us what you have tried to help with your condition?

REPLY

Hello Jen. Personally I have no pain, only numbness that started from my hands and now also appeared on my feet. Doctors I saw evaluated that surgery will drastically improve my condition, however, I am looking for alternatives and this is one of the reason I created the topic.

Coming to your question, I did try a neck collar that only made my symptoms worse.

REPLY
@billandri

Hello Jen. Personally I have no pain, only numbness that started from my hands and now also appeared on my feet. Doctors I saw evaluated that surgery will drastically improve my condition, however, I am looking for alternatives and this is one of the reason I created the topic.

Coming to your question, I did try a neck collar that only made my symptoms worse.

Jump to this post

Bill I can tell you the surgery is not that big of a deal. I’m 35 and had a fusion done a year and a half ago on c4c5. It started as you said In fingers. Eventually both of my arms were numb. I was unable to wake them. I researched my surgeon and picked the best one in my opinion. Can honestly say I had a 100% improvement. I felt and was ready to go back to normal activities in two days. Honestly wish I’d had done it sooner. I understand not wanting to go the surgical route. But I definitely suggest you research all your options. And if you do surgery talk to a lot of people in your area n find a good surgeon.

Liked by bernese53

REPLY

@billandri Bill I'd like to direct you to a conversation taking place. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spinal-stenosis-lumbar/?pg=4#comment-259270
Although the original post was addressing lumbar stenosis, I feel you will get a lot of good info reading the various responses.By tagging @jenniferhunter @lioness I hope for them to join in and add their experiences. My husband had 2 C Spine surgeries last year. He had herniated discs as well as stenosis.His spine is now fused from C3 – C7. Numbness due to nerve damage is still something he fights. The index finger is totally numb and twitches. Epidural did not work alone, he is now looking at RFA radio frequency ablation done at C5 level.
How long have you been experiencing problems?

REPLY

@billandri Sorry to hear about your diagnosis and numbness issues. I would highly recommend asking for physical therapy with a therapist that practices McKenzie techniques which are geared specifically for getting things moving in the spine properly. I am not surprised using a neck collar didn't help, most often restricting spinal movement will make things worse, as joints are meant to move. I would also recommend looking at spinal injections. Sometimes steroid injections at the site of the issue (in this case C5/6) can be helpful in reducing swelling associated with the constant irritation and may give you symptom relief. (Again, not a medical professional, this is just my personal experience)
I can understand your hesitation on surgery, as surgery can sometimes lead to other issues. Most insurance companies want to see 6 weeks of more conservative treatment first before going for surgery. It might be beneficial to see a PT to help figure out if the stenosis symptoms can be alleviated with strength and posture exercises while also trying the steroids for reduction in inflammation before the surgery. If symptoms subside, you may opt for continuing down the non-surgical route. If they do not subside, the you will have done due diligence in looking at other options as well as satisfied any resistance you might get from your insurance.
I have had two artificial disc replacements at C6/7 and C5/6. I had the two surgeries 2 years apart and they were after quite sometime from the original injury. The disc replacement seemed the best option to me as it does not inhibit natural range of motion in the neck especially at a younger age. I would recommend doing research on surgeons using these devices first and picking one that has experience with a variety of devices and has been properly trained. Most of the time you can look on the device websites for a list of trained doctors and find one in your area. Both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specializing in spine issues may be options for this procedure.

REPLY

I was diagnosed with stenosis (2 places) and herniated discs some years ago. I was in extreme pain. Surgical evaluation said 10% chance of success. Solution seemed to be many years of pain meds. I then went to Mayo and they referred me to one of the PTs who put me on an exercise and aqua therapy plan. That was 2 years ago and I have pain free since then. No meds, no surgery, no more numbness. There are alternative to meds and surgery. It worked for me. The only downside is that regular visits to gym are required.

Liked by Jennifer Hunter

REPLY
@sandytoes14

@billandri Bill I'd like to direct you to a conversation taking place. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spinal-stenosis-lumbar/?pg=4#comment-259270
Although the original post was addressing lumbar stenosis, I feel you will get a lot of good info reading the various responses.By tagging @jenniferhunter @lioness I hope for them to join in and add their experiences. My husband had 2 C Spine surgeries last year. He had herniated discs as well as stenosis.His spine is now fused from C3 – C7. Numbness due to nerve damage is still something he fights. The index finger is totally numb and twitches. Epidural did not work alone, he is now looking at RFA radio frequency ablation done at C5 level.
How long have you been experiencing problems?

Jump to this post

@billandri Thank you Sandytoes for inviting me to this discussion I'm afraid I can't say to much about stenosis .I have an L2fracture in 2005 ,since then fusion of K5S1 by itself also bulging disc The Dr just recently did a MRI as I was concerned about stenosis but the MRI showed my problem was the bulging disc. I have gone to a chiropractor all my life for a birth defect even after my fracture I went after it was healed .I was informed by my chiropractor that it would help with stenosis as a man here ask me about it. I wish you the best

REPLY

@billandri Hello. Thanks for asking the question and cervical spine surgery is a big step. I am a Mayo spine surgery patient. I understand wanting to avoid surgery, and I would have done it a lot sooner, but no surgeon would help me (and I saw 5). The complicating factors were the pain I had all over my body from spinal cord compression in my neck and my MRI looked just like yours with a ruptured disc and bone spurs at C5/C6, and I also have thoracic outlet syndrome which is nerve compression in my shoulder. Leg and body pain is a symptom of cervical stenosis, but it was what all of the surgeons missed. They imagined problems I didn't have (like MS) and wouldn't take a risk on me. I found medical literature describing some similar cases and I contacted a surgeon at Mayo with that after reading his papers, and he had a paper that described leg pain from cervical stenosis. He did help me, and the recovery from the surgery was not as bad as I imagined. I have a biology degree and did a lot of research reading about spine surgery in the 2 years before I came to Mayo.

The only way to recover from spinal cord compression is surgery, and the sooner you do that, the less permanent damage you will have. Spinal cord damage doesn't always show up on MRI, but when it does, it is a white area within the cord. I did not have it on my MRI. I had muscle atrophy, and I lost about half my muscle in my arms and shoulders. Everything felt 3 times heavier than it really was, and I became so weak that I could not hold my arms up. Things like driving, pushing a shopping cart, and painting (I am an artist) became impossible and exhausting. That happened within 2 years of the first symptom which was ankle pain. Once I came to Mayo, I was offered surgical help right away, and everything about it was different and better than all the places that just wasted my time and wouldn't help me. Ask your doctors what will happen without surgery. I didn't want to be at risk of paralysis or live my life in a wheelchair. If your spinal cord is already compressed and you have a whiplash type injury, the consequences can be devastating and disabling.

I did have a diagnostic epidural injection, and when it took away all the preexisting pain (indicating what surgery could fix), the doctor ignored those results. I also had a bad reaction to it and got a new intense pain from the pressure of the injected fluid that had nowhere to go, a paraesthesia, and I had stabbing burning pain from that into my dominant hand and index finger, and I had to not move at all, or it would bring that on. I was convulsing right after that injection and nearly passed out. It was my deep breathing and relaxation techniques that saved me from loosing consciousness. That was the worst pain I have ever felt, and going through spine surgery didn't come close to that pain at all. It took a couple months for that to subside, and then I had cold sensitivity in my hand from that. Surgeons seem to like to put off surgery with injections, and epidurals pose a significant risk, and can have serious consequences if done improperly, and the injections are not FDA approved. I refused to do any more as it won't help, and I had to wait at least 6 weeks after one in order to get a clear MRI. Mayo never asked me to do an injection.

I was seeing a physical therapist during all of this time, and she bought me some time by realigning my neck from the muscle spasms, and she used a Dolphin Neuro-stimulator on the nerve roots which blocks the neuro-transmitters of the pain impulse signals. That reduced pain for about a week. Because of the tightness through my chest from TOS, I would get some rotation of thoracic vertebrae that caused numbness in my forearms, and with PT and myo-fascial release, I could get the feeling back that was due to the rotation.

In your MRI, the white area around the spinal cord is the fluid space, and you can see that it is compressed enough that there isn't much of the space left at all where the stenosis is. This will keep advancing. In my case, I saw the amount of bone spurs double on my MRI within 9 months. Just prior to surgery, if I bent my neck, I sent a electric shock down my entire body, and my disc had collapsed down about 50% so bending would cause the nerve roots to get compressed even though I didn't have stenosis or arthritis in the foramen (where nerve exit the spine).

My best advice would be to figure out which procedure you think is best and which surgeon you can trust to do it, so you are prepared when the time comes. I made maps of my pain on a body diagram over 6 months and tracked how it changed. You should do this to track how fast it changes. I suggest get opinions about artificial discs and fusion. My surgeon does both, but I also had 2 mm or retro-listhesis (backward slipping instability) so I was not a great candidate for artificial disc. Anything screwed into your bone has the possibility of pulling out or migrating. Foreign materials can cause immune reactions. Your body can grow bone spurs around an artificial disc trying to stabilize it. Artificial discs can fail. Both artificial disc and fusion patients can had adjacent segment disease, and that also happens to people who have had no spine surgery. I chose a one level fusion with cadaver bone (so I would not have hip pain for the rest of my life from harvesting), and my surgeon did not place hardware on my spine at my request. No plates, no screws, no cages, and only a disc of bone seeded with my removed bone spurs that fused beautifully. I stayed in a hard collar for 3 months until it fused and then did rehab. I didn't want a plate taking up space in my neck or causing discomfort. My surgery fixed all the pain. I have some tightness in my neck that I work on in physical therapy along with TOS.

You may want to be checked for other nerve entrapment issues like carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, etc. just in case there are also problems with nerves in other places. If you have surgery for cervical stenosis, and still have an issue, it could be something like TOS. My TOS got worse because of the surgical scar tissue that is close to the TOS entrapment, but myofascial release helps and I made a lot of progress. I was immobile for the months in the neck brace, and had to wait for fusion before we could do therapy. see http://www.myofascialrelease.com

I know you were hoping for another answer, and this is a big change for your health, but you can recover and be active again, but you'll always need to maintain good posture, core strength and proper body mechanics to prevent future problems. Give yourself permission to take time off to recover. I wish I had come to Mayo first, as I could not find the quality of care that I needed locally. I am 2 years post op, and about half of my lost muscle has come back, and I'm still working on it. I would not have lost all that muscle with an earlier surgery, but no one would help me.

If you have any questions, just ask. You can read my Mayo story, Here's the link and another story about the Mayo story.
https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/
https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/barrington/community/chi-ugc-article-local-artist-jennifer-hunter-has-her-patient-2019-01-30-story.html

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@billandri Hello. Thanks for asking the question and cervical spine surgery is a big step. I am a Mayo spine surgery patient. I understand wanting to avoid surgery, and I would have done it a lot sooner, but no surgeon would help me (and I saw 5). The complicating factors were the pain I had all over my body from spinal cord compression in my neck and my MRI looked just like yours with a ruptured disc and bone spurs at C5/C6, and I also have thoracic outlet syndrome which is nerve compression in my shoulder. Leg and body pain is a symptom of cervical stenosis, but it was what all of the surgeons missed. They imagined problems I didn't have (like MS) and wouldn't take a risk on me. I found medical literature describing some similar cases and I contacted a surgeon at Mayo with that after reading his papers, and he had a paper that described leg pain from cervical stenosis. He did help me, and the recovery from the surgery was not as bad as I imagined. I have a biology degree and did a lot of research reading about spine surgery in the 2 years before I came to Mayo.

The only way to recover from spinal cord compression is surgery, and the sooner you do that, the less permanent damage you will have. Spinal cord damage doesn't always show up on MRI, but when it does, it is a white area within the cord. I did not have it on my MRI. I had muscle atrophy, and I lost about half my muscle in my arms and shoulders. Everything felt 3 times heavier than it really was, and I became so weak that I could not hold my arms up. Things like driving, pushing a shopping cart, and painting (I am an artist) became impossible and exhausting. That happened within 2 years of the first symptom which was ankle pain. Once I came to Mayo, I was offered surgical help right away, and everything about it was different and better than all the places that just wasted my time and wouldn't help me. Ask your doctors what will happen without surgery. I didn't want to be at risk of paralysis or live my life in a wheelchair. If your spinal cord is already compressed and you have a whiplash type injury, the consequences can be devastating and disabling.

I did have a diagnostic epidural injection, and when it took away all the preexisting pain (indicating what surgery could fix), the doctor ignored those results. I also had a bad reaction to it and got a new intense pain from the pressure of the injected fluid that had nowhere to go, a paraesthesia, and I had stabbing burning pain from that into my dominant hand and index finger, and I had to not move at all, or it would bring that on. I was convulsing right after that injection and nearly passed out. It was my deep breathing and relaxation techniques that saved me from loosing consciousness. That was the worst pain I have ever felt, and going through spine surgery didn't come close to that pain at all. It took a couple months for that to subside, and then I had cold sensitivity in my hand from that. Surgeons seem to like to put off surgery with injections, and epidurals pose a significant risk, and can have serious consequences if done improperly, and the injections are not FDA approved. I refused to do any more as it won't help, and I had to wait at least 6 weeks after one in order to get a clear MRI. Mayo never asked me to do an injection.

I was seeing a physical therapist during all of this time, and she bought me some time by realigning my neck from the muscle spasms, and she used a Dolphin Neuro-stimulator on the nerve roots which blocks the neuro-transmitters of the pain impulse signals. That reduced pain for about a week. Because of the tightness through my chest from TOS, I would get some rotation of thoracic vertebrae that caused numbness in my forearms, and with PT and myo-fascial release, I could get the feeling back that was due to the rotation.

In your MRI, the white area around the spinal cord is the fluid space, and you can see that it is compressed enough that there isn't much of the space left at all where the stenosis is. This will keep advancing. In my case, I saw the amount of bone spurs double on my MRI within 9 months. Just prior to surgery, if I bent my neck, I sent a electric shock down my entire body, and my disc had collapsed down about 50% so bending would cause the nerve roots to get compressed even though I didn't have stenosis or arthritis in the foramen (where nerve exit the spine).

My best advice would be to figure out which procedure you think is best and which surgeon you can trust to do it, so you are prepared when the time comes. I made maps of my pain on a body diagram over 6 months and tracked how it changed. You should do this to track how fast it changes. I suggest get opinions about artificial discs and fusion. My surgeon does both, but I also had 2 mm or retro-listhesis (backward slipping instability) so I was not a great candidate for artificial disc. Anything screwed into your bone has the possibility of pulling out or migrating. Foreign materials can cause immune reactions. Your body can grow bone spurs around an artificial disc trying to stabilize it. Artificial discs can fail. Both artificial disc and fusion patients can had adjacent segment disease, and that also happens to people who have had no spine surgery. I chose a one level fusion with cadaver bone (so I would not have hip pain for the rest of my life from harvesting), and my surgeon did not place hardware on my spine at my request. No plates, no screws, no cages, and only a disc of bone seeded with my removed bone spurs that fused beautifully. I stayed in a hard collar for 3 months until it fused and then did rehab. I didn't want a plate taking up space in my neck or causing discomfort. My surgery fixed all the pain. I have some tightness in my neck that I work on in physical therapy along with TOS.

You may want to be checked for other nerve entrapment issues like carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, etc. just in case there are also problems with nerves in other places. If you have surgery for cervical stenosis, and still have an issue, it could be something like TOS. My TOS got worse because of the surgical scar tissue that is close to the TOS entrapment, but myofascial release helps and I made a lot of progress. I was immobile for the months in the neck brace, and had to wait for fusion before we could do therapy. see http://www.myofascialrelease.com

I know you were hoping for another answer, and this is a big change for your health, but you can recover and be active again, but you'll always need to maintain good posture, core strength and proper body mechanics to prevent future problems. Give yourself permission to take time off to recover. I wish I had come to Mayo first, as I could not find the quality of care that I needed locally. I am 2 years post op, and about half of my lost muscle has come back, and I'm still working on it. I would not have lost all that muscle with an earlier surgery, but no one would help me.

If you have any questions, just ask. You can read my Mayo story, Here's the link and another story about the Mayo story.
https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/
https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/barrington/community/chi-ugc-article-local-artist-jennifer-hunter-has-her-patient-2019-01-30-story.html

Jump to this post

Did you have one of your Physicians request an appointment or refer you to Mayo or did you do it on your own? How did you you choose Dr Fogelson?

REPLY

I am having surgery at the Mayo Clinic-Rochester in April (for cervical stenosis and radiculopathy). I was a self-referral to the Mayo Clinic and was assigned to an orthopedist who specializes in spine conditions.

Liked by Jennifer Hunter

REPLY
@badbonz

Did you have one of your Physicians request an appointment or refer you to Mayo or did you do it on your own? How did you you choose Dr Fogelson?

Jump to this post

@badbonz
Thanks for asking. I referred myself to Mayo Clinic and specifically to Dr. Fogelson because I read his research papers and looked at his medical training ( Neurosurgeon trained at Mayo & also Orthopedic spine fellowship ) and having both specialties for spine surgery was a bonus. I found that he was teaching neurosurgery at Mayo and co-directing surgical lab courses at the Spine Research Society Annual meeting for other surgeons in cervical surgeries, both fusion and artificial disc, and was a spinal deformity expert, and someone who takes the complex cases. He had also been recognized by his undergraduate university with a full scholarship and graduated with honors.

See https://www.bsualumni.org/young-alumni-award-dr.-jeremy-fogelson

After my surgery, he was listed in the Becker Spine Review as a spine surgeon leader to know
https://www.beckersspine.com/spine-leaders/item/37080-spine-surgeon-leader-to-know-dr-jeremy-l-fogelson-of-mayo-clinic.html
It was by reading one of Dr. Fogelson's papers, I came across a term I had to look up, and in doing that, I found medical literature with cases similar to mine, and I had found what 5 other surgeons had missed completely.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111492/
I knew I had found a surgeon in Dr. Fogelson who would understand the complexity of my case, and it was because of the paper her co-authored, that I knew there was an answer. I had been trying to get help for 2 years, and none of the 5 surgeons I consulted would help me. I also have thoracic outlet syndrome that complicated it a bit because of overlapping symptoms, and I needed to be seen somewhere where both would be understood.

I had "funicular" pain or referred pain that confused 5 local surgeons and none recognized that this pain was being caused by cervical stenosis. I literally had pain all over my body caused by spinal cord compression in my neck, and there is no definitive test to prove that this happens, except that surgery to decompress the spinal cord fixes it. The indication that predicts this is having an epidural spinal injection that takes away all the pain; but it isn't definitive proof. I had that experience where the spinal injection temporarily took away all the pain, by the doctor ignored the results and looked no further. I had documented it completely on body diagrams, and there was no doubt in my mind, but that was what flagged me as a complicated case. When I got worse, the last surgeon dismissed me after I had done everything he asked of me over 5 months.

I called Mayo and asked about Dr. Fogelson and they told me that patients really like him. I asked to send my imaging in to him, and I wrote him a letter explaining my symptoms and I sent the medical study I found and told him I found it because of his paper. I was offered an appointment, and I was impressed when I met him. He was intelligent, kind and compassionate, and down to earth. He answered all my detailed questions well. I knew a lot about spine procedures since I'd been reading literature for 2 years and watching online videos of surgeons presenting lectures for other neurosurgeons at conferences and that is also how I knew that the surgeons before I came to Mayo were not getting it right. They were looking for easy cases with no complications, and they didn't want to risk their reputation on something they didn't understand.

At my first meeting with Dr. Fogelson, he wanted to see the painting that I brought, and he liked it and said he wouldn't mind having something like that in his house. I told him that could be arranged and we all laughed. So that is how it began, and I was relieved. I had found a surgeon who respected me as a patient. I was relieved that he was going to help me regain my ability to do my art work.

I was highly impressed with my care and recovery, and when I got the survey about my experience from the then Mayo CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, just filling out a multiple choice questions was not enough, so I wrote him with a personal letter praising Dr. Fogelson and his nurse. She was also very kind and helpful and always called me back to answer my questions. I got a personal letter back from Dr. Noseworthy thanking me, and he said that Dr. Fogelson was one of their best neurosurgeons and that he valued working with him. I was so excited to get that letter, and I gave Dr. Fogelson a copy at my next appointment… as you can imagine that is how you really make a surgeon happy, and he was so humble and thankful to receive it.

As a patient who was anxious, having a kind doctor made a difference for me in facing my fears. Dr. Fogelson is a gifted surgeon, and I don't have any of that pain any more, and I believe that this type of healing atmosphere benefits both the doctor and the patient. I couldn't find that anywhere else. He also gave me a choice that the others usually do not in having a single level fusion without hardware because I agreed to stay in a neck brace for 3 months which lets me avoid any possible future hardware problems. I had seen that possibility in one of his papers too, and I asked him and he agreed. That really is putting the needs of the patient first.

When I delivered his portrait to him, I asked him why he wanted to be a neurosurgeon, and how told me he chose that because it was difficult and he wanted the challenge. I don't remember his exact words, but he likes solving difficult problems… unlike the others who didn't want my case. If I should need anything spine related in my future, I will go back to Dr. Fogelson at Mayo, and he told me he will be my doctor until such time as he retires. (That will be quite a while.)

Some other stories about Dr. Fogelson-
https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2012/12/23/repaying-a-gift-scholarship-recipient-says-thanks-in-a-special-way/?utm_campaign=search
https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2017/07/26/spinal-surgery-saves-teen-swimmers-mobility/?utm_campaign=search
http://www.startribune.com/in-second-term-minnesota-gov-markdayton-dealing-with-more-health-problems/361662931/
http://www.startribune.com/gov-mark-dayton-to-undergo-third-back-surgery/497015811/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/trauma/news/geriatric-winter-falls-when-a-simple-bump-on-the-ice-can-be-serious/mac-20451017@
Mayo Clinic Minute
https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-scoliosis-screening/

REPLY
@bernese53

I am having surgery at the Mayo Clinic-Rochester in April (for cervical stenosis and radiculopathy). I was a self-referral to the Mayo Clinic and was assigned to an orthopedist who specializes in spine conditions.

Jump to this post

@bernese53 You'll be in good hands as there are many good surgeons there. I hope you'll have time to enjoy some of the wonderful art collection. I stayed at Aspen Suites for my surgery at Mayo, which was a nice little efficiency apartment. It is right across the street from St. Mary's.

REPLY

Were you in the hospital following the surgery? I am from the Philadelphia area and will be traveling by plane to and from Rochester. How long did you stay in Rochester before going home? I know every case is different but I have read very little about people who have traveled for cervical spine surgery.

REPLY
@bernese53

Were you in the hospital following the surgery? I am from the Philadelphia area and will be traveling by plane to and from Rochester. How long did you stay in Rochester before going home? I know every case is different but I have read very little about people who have traveled for cervical spine surgery.

Jump to this post

My husband had spine surgery in the lumbar portion of his back six years ago. His surgery was done by a neuro surgeon in Daytona Beach Florida. He was in the hospital for a week. He then had in home service by a nurse who came to the house about 3 times a week for 3 weeks. He was only allowed in the car with me driving to the grocery store once a week. (We own a vacation house in Florida) We could not return (fly home) to Alaska until 2 months after the surgery.

REPLY

@bernese53 I wasn't required to stay overnight in the hospital after my cervical spine surgery ACDF C5/C6, but I stayed 1 night because after all that anesthesia and nausea, I didn't want to risk falling. The insurance coverage had to be figured to allow a one night stay. I just wanted to sleep and didn't want to walk across the street to the hotel. They recommended that I might want to stay at the hotel a day or 2 just in case there were any complications and I would have access to my surgical team. We ended up staying 4 nights (first night pre-surgery) because it snowed an we didn't want to drive home on slippery roads. I did have a lot of phlegm and difficulty breathing because of the anesthesia and I have asthma, and I did call and talk to the surgeon's assistant (one of the neurosurgery fellows) and he told me excess phlegm after anesthesia was normal. I had my nebulizer with me which worked. I did have some weird chest pains that started from a spasm in my neck and I used a microwaved bead heat wrap to help the spasms. I was happy just to sleep a couple days before the 5 hour drive back home. You'll be exhausted after this and if it's a frontal approach with a bad sore throat and swallowing correctly is difficult. I didn't have much of an appetite. I had to go slow and think about it. Bring someone with you. After surgery, your neck will hurt every time you get up or down. I would hold my head. I could have left the hospital in the afternoon on the same day. I didn't take pain medicine after I left the hospital because of the breathing issues, and my GI tract sure didn't like it at all. I found I could tolerate it without, and the pain meds didn't completely mask the pain and they nauseated me, so there was another med for nausea. It took me about a month for the GI to normalize again, so do what you need to keep things moving and it will still be difficult. I'll send you a message so you can see my pictures.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.