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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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I have multilevel degenerative disc disease more severe at

Resolved Question:

I have multilevel degenerative disc disease more severe at C5 and C^ with moderate to severe canal stenosis and mild flattening of the cord. Moderate foramininal stenosis bilaterally at C5-C6 and C6-C7.   I am 53 years old.

What type of surgery is the best to treat this, Is it laminectomy or corpectomy. How long do these surgeries last and what is the recovery like.

Is surgery necessary?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
Well, to answer your question -- one really has to view the MRI of your cervical spine.

Typically -- if the problem with compression comes from the front of the spine -- then a corpectomy is done (as that decompresses the front of the spinal cord).

If the problem is due to compression from the back of the spine -- then a laminectomy is done.

Of course, these are general statements, but one that really needs to have a review of your MRI to make.

Given the fact you have "severe" canal stenosis and "flattening" of the cord -- you should have surgery. The risk lies in the fact that if you were to fall, or get into a car accident with this much pressure on the spinal cord -- any accident that involves a "whiplash" type injury could leave you paralyzed.

Generally, the recovery is about a few weeks after surgery, where you will be instructed to "take it easy", to allow for healing, but generally the recovery is easy and done at home.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The one question that you did not answer is generally how long the surgery lasts.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
The surgery's decompressive effects usually lasts for years, and hopefully for a lifetime.

Of course, as people age, continued degeneration of the spine occurs -- and thus further surgery may be needed. But as long as you heal well, and your bones "fuse" to form a good fusion -- no further surgery is needed in that area for life.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
What I was asking is how long does the surgical procedure generally take.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.

The actual surgical procedure is probably between 2-3 hours.

Of course, it will take as long as it needs to take, but generally the above is a good estimate.
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