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numb hands
New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/29/2009 2:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone,
I have been diagnosed as having OPLL between C4-C5. Actually, the OPLL bone growth is growing out of C5 and compressing my spinal cord. Therefore, my hands and legs have become gradually numbed constantly. Additionally, I have been developing a noticeable gait in my walk. I feel as though my walking is more jerky and robotic and not sychronized. My neurosurgeon recommend that I have surgery to remove the OPLL at C5 with a fusion between C4-C5. They will also strengthen the fusion with a titanium plate. The whole surgical procedure looks very gruesome and I am rather worried. The risks of puncturing the dura membrane, spinal fluid leakage, and possible paralysis scare me to death. Has anyone undergone such an OPLL surgery recently?  I would like to know more about postoperative pain, where the surgery was performed and the final outcome of the surgery. Will the numbness in my hands and legs go away and will I be able to walk normally again? I would like to hear from anyone who has had similar experiences and OPLL surgery. Thanks in advance.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/22/2009 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed with OPLL and had the surgery on June 26, 2008 at Winston Salem Baptist Hospital (Dr. John Wilson & Team) and am thankful to be alive and not paralized.
I had been a healthy person working two jobs and raising two children  -  stress from life, work, parenting, really just added to the disease.
I was told in 07 that I needed to have surgery after MRIs, and other images taken.  I was in denial - tried Chiropractor; then referred to Winston Salem - told how series the situation was.  When I left that appointment I was so afraid.  My case was so severe, facing paralysis, that it bought tears to my eyes.  I noticed that in 2005 or 2006, I began feeling numbness and tingling in three fingers on my right hand.  It progressed over time, tingling grew stronger and numbness was more frequent.  Then came the clumsiness in my walking (right leg) - it just wouldn't pick up and move like the other leg, then that worsened as time passed.  It had gotten so bad that I couldn't feel using my right hand and my right leg just wouldn't move - found myself stumbling all the time, tearing the tip of all my shoes up.
I had noticed that over time my legs would begin to jerk (especially when I was in a relaxed position, sitting or lying) for no apparent reason and there was this really sensitve and firey feeling on my feet and chin area if someone stepped on my foot or I bump it against something. 
Because I put this off for as long as I did, I didn't help my situation.  My surgery was 14 hours.  The surgeons had performed surgery on the front and the back of my spine.  In the back it was the areas of C3-C8.  And I too have these titanium screws and rod holding everything in place w/limited mobility to my neck.  But then there was a hugh calcium buildup that had to be removed which they cut away my nerve on the right side leaving me with no mobility to walk, lift my arm, or to even feed myself.  After 6 months of therapy I was able to gradually return to work or lose my job.  Still not able to dress myself, comb my hair, or bath.  But family members stepped up to the plate and really helped out.  There is still some tingling in my right hand still and my right leg still drags behind somewhat, but I am thankful that I am not paralized and am still in the land of the living.
We were told I had OPLL and was asked if there was any asian in my blood line and/or if I had fallen.  Now its been 16 months since the surgery and I have these spasms going on thoughout all of my body (in areas that I would never have dreamed).  The jerking of my leg is still occurring.  I may not ever walk normally again, will never be able to run or jog, ride a bike; if there is a fire, I hope someone will just drag me out, because I surely can't run. 
The surgery was the worst thing I've ever gone through in my life and will not ever want to do it again.  Oh my God!  Yours does not involve as many areas of the spine as mine.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 10/23/2009 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I am sorry to hear about your condition. I have looked into surgery for OPLL and I don't know if I would consider it but so far it only mildly affect my gait. I have 3 areas of OPLL in my thoracic and cervical spine. I have only had a surgery for a pinched nerve at C8 and it didn't really resolve my l side neck/shoulder pain and numbness/tingling of my left hand. So far I am taking pain meds and muscle relaxants and taking each day as it is. There is a previous thread about OPLL that I was part of if you would like to read a interesting discussion. I think I am going to go back to an NS in the spring to get another opinion about my condition. Take each day as it comes. Keep us posted.
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