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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery
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I had intervertebral disc replacement surgery between C4-C6

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Hi Doctor,
I had intervertebral disc replacement surgery between C4-C6 in 2009. The neurologist replaced one disc with a prosthesis in September 2009. In June 2011 I was diagnosed with a Paravertebral Sulcus Tumour. I underwent a major Thoracotomy to remove the lesion. However since then I have major pain in my left shoulder which is the side they operated on to remove the lesion. My neck aches as well and I have terrible headaches. I went for another MRI in April this year but my neurologist wants me to handle the pain with medication and physiotheraphy. My left hand is also very weak. I have again started experiencing pain in my chest and wondered if the tumour could have returned as the MRI concentrated on my upper neck and head region.


It is a bit hard to know, simply based on pain, if the tumor has returned.

This would require a MRI or CT scan to further investigate.

It sounds as if the surgery itself -- the thoracotomy - could be the culprit for your ongoing pain, since surgery in this area is a big deal. Hand weakness can be related to issues with the C8 nerve, which could have been affected by the tumor as well. Hand weakness is not generally associated with the C4-5-6 levels that you had your previous neck surgery.

Certainly, with your new pain symptoms, having your thoracic surgeon evaluate you, and determine if further testing is required would be best.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My neurologist also said that I have Degenerative Disc Disease. Can this be managed with meds and physio? I have been off sick for 32 days this year excluding 27 days of annual leave and weekends. I cannot seem to manage working a full week. Thirty minutes in traffic and my neck aches and all I want to do is lie down or support my neck. This does not seem normal to me.

Yes, degenerative disc disease is simply a general term "wear and tear" changes in the spine, such as arthritis. This can be managed with meds and physical therapy.

Of course, when the pain becomes severe, then seeing a neurosurgeon to get an evaluation of your neck becomes helpful.

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