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Disc herniation and cervical canal stenosis, severe neck & left arm pain, tingling sensation in thumb, treatment through medication

My mother(age- 49) has been diagnosed with disc herniation and cervical canal stenosis in C4 to C7 as per her MRI report. She had severe neck & left arm pain also feels a tingling sensation in her left thumb , otherwise her movements & motor reflexes are alright. Does she require a surgery? What are the complications of the surgery? What if we don t go for surgery? Can this be treated with medication?
Asked On : Wed, 9 May 2012
Answers:  2 Views:  105
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Orthopaedic Surgeon 's  Response

1. Disc herniation with cervical canal stenosis is basically a mechanical issue which cannot be treated with medication. Medications can only improve your symptom / pain or may be numbness to a part, but cannot get back the herniated disc.

2. Since she had developed tingling sensation in her left thumb --> nerve compression by the herniated disc.

3. Not all cases of herniated disc +/- nerve compression require surgery. Give a trial of cervical traction and see whether her numbness improves. If she is not benefited by traction, then surgery is the only way to get rid of the numbness.

4. Surgical complications can range from none to immediate postop blood collection inside canal. Risks are always involved in all surgeries (simple to more complicated) that we have to accept - ranging from infection to technical difficulties with added co-morbid conditions of the patient themself (age, wound healing, bone quality, diabetis / heart disease/ hypertension / thyroid or metabolic diseases etc..). Better surgical techniques with use of microscope has decreased such complications. So operating on cervical spine now-a-days with good ICU care is becoming a routine.
Answered: Wed, 9 May 2012
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General & Family Physician Dr. Thomas George Varghese's  Response
Welcome to Healthcare Magic.
Yes she needs to undergo spinal surgery.
Delaying the procedure can have long term complications like progressively increasing pain and weakness.
Complications of the surgery are minimal if done by an experienced surgeon.
Dr. Thomas
Answered: Mon, 28 May 2012
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