I just wanted to add that any type of surgery carries risks...and most women who have had babies who got an epidural had risk of paralysis as part of it but most women don't even think twice about getting that done...same with a C-section...
Any time there is general anesthesia involved for any surgery, or one's that deal with the spine, there are pros/cons....risks/benefits..
So, yes..it's certainly important to go over all of this with your Dr. as well as get a second opinion from a Board Certified Dr. who has had the most training...
You mentioned talking to your PM about the surgery..they would not be the one to make that determination nor give any medical advice about surgery, they are not trained in that area just fyi...True PM Dr.s are either Anesthesiology background or Osteopathy (D.O)..
Who was the Dr. who actually suggested this surgery?
It's smart to read up as much as possible, and PaLady is correct...to look at actual numbers of paralysis per number of surgeries if you feel like it...
For my 3 cervical fusions...I knew the risks..but they were so small that I leave it up to God (for me personally)...and the cons of not having the surgery were much greater with my risk to paralysis and pain, as well as I truly trusted and adored my Neurosurgeon...
Just like with any medication we take...there is a whole page listed of side effects..and most of them in the slimmest of possibilites can cause death or coma, but again..I try to look online at the highest percentages and what is 'likely'..
Keep in mind that Dr.s always have to tell you 'worst case' to cover themselves for malpractice...that doesn't mean it's 'probable'...
I would just say to try not to let the fear of the unknown take over and make the total decision for you in something that can possibly truly help...as Straydog mentioned...I think this particular surgery has good results and pretty safe...that's why second opinions are crucial to then have more than one Dr. telling you that it could help (or not), your pain, to live a better life...and how great would that be!!:)
One other suggestion...my Dr. has free samples of the lidoderm patches in his office and since I don't have insurance..this saves a bundle!! So I would ask him if he has them, or can get some for you...they are given samples by sales reps of many medicines everyday..
SB and "the pup who snores loudly"
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha"))
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Dec 2006