Without looking at the films I cannot make recommendations regarding treatment. The spinal cord sits within the spinal canal (boney canal formed by the vertebrae) which protects the spinal cord. Around the spinal cord are fluid filled spaces which the cord "floats or lies in". When a disc bulges it first pushes on the fluid space (arachnoid space), and can then begin to push on the spinal cord. However, if it is merely touching the cord, it typically is not causing damage. However, when the bulging or narrowing becomes greater then the spinal cord gets squeezed between the front and back of the spinal canal, and this is when damage can occur. If you are questioning the first surgeons adivce you could either see another surgeon or consult a neurologist. Good luck.
I hope you are going to Chicago. The top spine and neck surgeon there is Dr Cerrillo. I have heard all cervical surgery should be done from the front (neck) to minimize more damage to all the nerves coming out of the back of the neck. I think he works out of Rush (downtown) hospital and also out of CINN (Chicago Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery. I had two of my brain surgeries there last year and they are the best. I also know about them due to my cousin had been a nurse for him a long time. One of my uncles also had cervical surgery done by his group and god bless him, he is well into his 70's and has not had any problems since having the surgery.
If you would like their phone number, email me and I'll send it to you. Be sure to bring your films if you go for a consult.