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Can they find bulging discs after multi-level ACDF?

Hi. A little history. I have had 3 total ACDF surgeries with hardware. First was C4-C6, then C4-C7 with a hardware revision and then C4-T1 with a plate and cage. All were completed anteriorly. I have recently started having headaches, neck pain and some hand pain. Had an MRI and the results said: 1. Reversed lordotic curvature at C5-C6. No intra-axial pathology identified. 2. Multiple level facet degeneration and hypertrophy. No acute fracture dislocation. 3. Disc bulge C5-C7 with a mild spinal cord anterior impingement but no cord flattening.” So I’m really confused about this. With 3 ACDF surgeries in that area, how is it possible there is a disc there to bulge? Shouldn’t that have been removed in my surgeries?
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Obviously a question for your surgeon, but from your very brief discussion it doesn't sound like you had that disc operated on.  As you fused the other discs, you might have put more strain on the discs left.  I don't really know, just suggesting questions for your surgeon.  The thing about discs is that they aren't usually the reason for pain.  That's most often muscular even if you have horrid looking discs.  These surgeries can be very successful, but can also not be, like everything else in medicine.  The fact you show a bulge doesn't mean it's causing pain.  Almost everyone over the age of 40 shows disc problems both cervical and in the rest of the vertibrae.  Some hurt because of it.  Most don't.  Life is what it is, and medicine is what it is.  What you most need to do is learn how, given where you are now in structure there, how to move and how to have the best posture to get the best results.  I hope your doc gives you the info that helps and I hope you're feeling a lot better.  I'm facing this issue, as my neck and my hips are shot but I'm more of a coward than you are about it because it's just a difficult area to work on.  It appears you have some nerve pinching, but it's not necessarily that disc, it might be from the areas you had worked on.  Again, hope you find out all you need to know to feel tip top.  Peace.
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