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Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Started by SallyP on 09/11/2018 7:30am

Has anyone suffered the above condition?
I have been diagnosed with 3 protruding discs in my neck causing spinal cord compression & am being advised to have the following surgical procedure: Anterior Cervical Discectomy. I am not keen on having surgery of any kind and trying to avoid but any information & advice I can gain on this is preparation the better. What is the real recovering time? Will I always suffer pain as a result of surgical intervention? How safe is this procedure? Are there alternatives?
Any help you can provide will be gratefully received! Thank you...

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2 Responses


Hi, SallyP--thank you for your question. We're happy to share resources about both cervical myelopathy and anterior cervical discectomy (ACD).

This is a terrific article about cervical myelopathy to help you learn more about your condition: ( Cervical Myelopathy and Spinal Cord Compression )

While many spinal disorders typically respond to non-surgical treatments, myelopathy typically requires surgery to prevent spinal cord damage. Here's some information about the procedure your doctor has recommended:
( Anterior Cervical Discectomy )
( Cervical Surgery Animation )

Your doctor may have recommended an open, or traditional, ACD, but some patients are candidates for a minimally invasive version of this surgery. Minimally invasive surgery boasts smaller incisions and shorter recovery times, so you may want to discuss whether you are a candidate for this type of surgery with your doctor. This resource walks you through a minimally invasive ACDF (similar to the procedure you're considering but with an added fusion): ( Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) at an Outpatient Spine Center ).

Finally, we'd like to share that it's completely understandable to hesitate having spine surgery--even when your surgeon strongly recommends it. Spine surgery is a big deal--it's a major operation with a potentially challenging road to recovery. But it may be the best option to preserve your long-term nerve health. Our advice is to ask as many questions to your surgeon about the benefits and risks of surgery as they relate to you. This resource provides good examples of questions to ask: ( Spine Surgery: Questions to Ask Your Doctor ).

We hope this information helps you learn more about the key considerations surrounding your condition and procedure. We wish you the very best!


Hi Sally- I just had surgery for the same condition. My spinal cord was also compressed and 3 levels were affected. I had a “ cage” put in and my old hardware replaced with new. I had previously had 2 fusions-1 with a pin/ plate, because I had been in a bad accident. I chose to come home the same day, because I didn’t want to risk infection. I also have good help. I did not have much pain in arms or neck before- only had surgery because the stenosis in my neck was severe and would get worse. The pain has been tolerable. The worst part in muscle aches in upper arms and back, not my neck at all. I am excited for these to go away! I have not had to wear a collar which is nice. If you are worried about the surgery ,like I was , it really isn’t bad. You are quite restricted from doing things afterwards, though. You may want to choose a time when you can just be as lazy as possible. Make sure you have help for a little while, too,. Good luck. You can always get a 2nd opinion.