Please click on the My Mom’s Neck link at the top of the page for all posts/updates on my mom’s surgery and recovery.
My mom is scheduled for a C3-C7 Laminoplasty with a C3-C4 fusion with Dr. Gill on September 5th.
Over the past year (in retrospect) she has been loosing strength and feeling in her hands, arms and feet. The symptoms have gotten progressively worse over the past couple of months, including difficulty with balance, tingling and numbness in her hands, and difficulty with fine motor skills (such as picking up coins or working zippers). After seeing Dr. Randy Viola first (her hand surgeon) she was referred to Dr. Sonny Gill for diagnosis and treatment. We looked at her MRI and X-Rays, and immediately agreed with Dr. Gill and scheduled surgery. She was diagnosed with central cervical stenosis (or narrowing of the vertebral column) with resulting Myelopathy.
Although the picture to the right is not my mom’s neck, it does show how the stenosis pushes in on the spinal column. In my mom’s MRI, it shows similar narrowing at multiple locations. The picture on the right, is of a healthy cervical spine.
Due to bone spurs (mostly genetic in nature) and some instability throughout her cervical spine (due both to genetics and various trauma over the years), her spinal column is being constricted by her cervical vertebrae. There is also some slipping at the C3-C4 level, resulting in additional pressure on her nerves. The pressure on her spinal column has caused some Myelopathy, or damage to the spinal cord. The surgery will release some of the pressure on the spinal cord, and provide stability in the spine. This should help to alleviate the symptoms, and prevent further degeneration of the spinal cord. Since there is currently no way to regenerate nerves, they cannot promise that all the feeling and strength will return. However, without the surgery it is very likely that the degeneration will continue, and the symptoms would worsen.
She will be spending one or two nights at the surgery center in Frisco, Colorado, and then headed home. Looking at the general recovery guidelines, she will be wearing a soft neck collar for about 3 weeks, and starting PT at Howard Head at about 2 weeks post-surgery. It is anticipated that she should be able to go back to work at the Ski Museum in late November, and that she should be able to ski this spring.
Please feel free to post messages for my mom here,
or send them to her email or Facebook page.
I will be posting updates following the surgery, and about her ongoing recovery.
We all anticipate great results from this surgery
and expect a speedy and full recovery.
The links included in the body of this post are from Dr. Gill’s website.
Another resource for information is neckandback.com, which is from Dr. Corenman (also with the Steadman Clinic – and the surgeon who did my dad’s lumbar fusion).