Today I had my second opinion for ACDF surgery with a neurosurgeon. I already scheduled ACDF surgery with an orthopedic surgeon for October 19th. I spent a long time with the nurse going over my back pain history, therapies, treatments, and doing some reflex and strength tests. Once that was completed, the nurse said the surgeon would come in to discuss the results of my MRI. He plainly stated that he only urges surgery if 1) the spinal cord is compressed or 2) weakness. Since I don’t have either at the current time, he does not recommend surgery now. He did say, though, that I will need surgery in the future due to the disc degeneration/spondylosis. He recommended traction kit to use at home for 30 minutes a day/daily for 3 months. He put off having ACDF surgery on himself for 10 years by doing traction for 3 months, every two years. He said he knew it was time once traction no longer worked.
At first I was relieved. I am looking at a possible surgery on my arm/elbow and cannot imagine two surgeries in such close proximity of each other. However, then I was wondering how long do you put off surgery? I have read of individuals who waited too long and had the surgery but the nerves could not recover. I will reach out to my PCP and let her know and ask her thoughts, since my thoughts are overwhelming!