Originally Posted by SrMike
Now, if the numbness and tingling would just go away in my left thumb and 1st finger.
I was a little worried that (or something similar) would happen when I saw your films, but decided not to say anything until you mentioned this. Spinal fusions for chronic disk problems always make me uneasy, especially when I see films like this.
It's apparently an irritation of the nerve root between C5/C6, the top fusion.
The sensory pattern (dermatome) of your numbness follows a classic C6 nerve root path:
From the frontal view of your films, it's easy to see the malposition of the left side uncal process (on the right side of the film) of the vertebral body. In this picture, the uncal process is illustrated by #2.
You can see the uncal processes sweep up on the sides of the body in this bottom picture:
Mike, if you look at your frontal view, you'll see the uncus malposition just to the right of the round cage, about 2:00. The uncal joints should sit nicely in a saddle position. If it doesn't, it can cause problems and occlusion to the foramen where the nerve root passes, as you see here at the middle arrow on the body:
I see other things happening on the lateral view, on the posterior articulations and facets, but it's very difficult to show a patient or lay person because of the complexity and overlapping of the anatomy.
What concerns me is that the C5/C6 fusion itself prevents any kind of corrective or therapeutic procedures to alleviate the tissue damage that's occurring at that level.
Does your surgeon know about your numbness? (This looks like an ortho surgeon did it, not a neuro surgeon) It's not a good sign, especially given the evidence on these films.
Be aware that you now also have excessive strain on the C4/C5 level, just above the fusion -- it's apparent on your lateral film, particularly on the posterior bodies. A double fusion like yours, while it may patch up weakened and degerated disks, has a strong (almost definite) tendency to precipitate more future problems in the rest of the cervicals.
You may want to consider a consultation with a good chiropractor to keep the rest of your spine as healthy and balanced as possible, so you can minimize the further damage this fusion is causing. Unfortunately, I doubt a chiropractor will be able to help with the numbness in your hand, as the problem seems to now be integrated into that crude fusion.
I hope this helps, and gives you some information and questions to bring to your doctor.
Congrats on skiing, by the way. (being careful and mindful of your surroundings) Good for you!