Q. I have cervical stenosis, but I was told to wait for symptoms to get the surgery done. Is it fine to wait?

Answered by
Dr. Ghayur Abbas
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 16, 2021

Hello doctor,

I am 51 years old. I have been diagnosed with very severe cervical stenosis. I currently have no neurological deficits or pain. However, I have intermittent light numbness and tingling to the head and neck. I am curious if I have more options. My imaging results are as follows:

1) Significant reversal normal lordosis that appears to be congenital and acquired spinal stenosis with severe degenerative disc disease at all levels.

2) There is severe stenosis from C-3 to 4 through C-6 to 7.

3) There is no signal or Chiari malformation. However, there is severe foraminal stenosis at all levels C-3 to 4 through C-6 to 7. Therefore, the current recommendation is to wait for symptoms, and the proposed procedure is second-level disc replacement with second level fusion or third level fusion with one disc replacement.

I was told surgery is not an option until I get symptoms and signs. Is there a risk in waiting? How long could I possibly go at this point before needing surgery? Are there other more successful procedures with the same or better benefit? Is fusion the only option? How much routine pain will you have to endure after the procedure? What is the overall quality of life for a patient with spinal second-level cervical fusion? How significant is a risk there for paralysis or permanent numbness and tingling? My BP is 126/86, P-86, R-18, and temperature is 97.6. I am taking Ritalin, Mobic, Tylenol, Robaxin, and Vitamin tablets. I have attached the report for your reference. Please guide me.



Welcome to

First of all, there is multi-level stenosis in radiology. And regarding the decision about surgery, we have to look at both radiology and patient clinical symptoms. At this moment, your radiology (attachments removed to protect the patient's identity) shows a problem, but your clinical symptoms are not bad. So we can wait for surgery. How long these symptoms will not appear is purely patient-dependent. It varies from one patient to another. It may take six months to a year. It depends upon your lifestyle and physical activity. Fusion is the only option to open the stenosed canal. The success rate of surgery is very good. Pain varies from patient to patient. All surgeries have pros and cons. And the risk is associated with it. But that risk is not much as compared to benefit. I hope this was helpful.

Hi doctor,

Thank You.

I appreciate the brief but well-explained response. Will increased exercise like cardio, tennis, and proper stretching hasten or improve my ability to mitigate surgical intervention? Please guide me.



Welcome back to

You must be very careful regarding sports and other activities. Avoid high-impact activities and too much stretching of the neck. You can do exercises under an adequately qualified physiotherapist, who will guide you regarding exercises. I hope this was helpful.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
What is the treatment for facet hypertrophy?

I have continuous lower back pain ... You have mentioned that you are 28 years of age and have continuous lower back pain which I think is not responding to the medications and conservative manag...   Read full

I have been suggested laminectomy and spinal fusion for ankylosing spondylitis. What to do?

When I spoke with the surgeon, they mentioned that part of my back had already begun fusion and is referred to as ankylosing spondylitis ... I have very bad pain with lateral movement, and it als...   Read full

My mother has cervical spinal stenosis. How to move her from the bed to wheelchair?

But, in a bed bound person, one needs to take care that she does not develop pressure sores in the back and any chest or urinary infection ... Hi, Welcome back to icliniq ... Her symptoms are mus...   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

The New COVID Variant From South Africa (Omicron)
The World Health Organisation has enlisted Omicron to be a variant of concern. Just scroll down the article to know abou...  Read more»
Managing Diabetes During Festive Season
All the festivals are indirectly a danger sign for diabetic patients. Read this article to know more about how to handle...  Read more»
What You Should Eat and Drink for A Healthy Life!!
Food is essential for our survival, and what we eat definitely impacts our health. We can easily reduce the risk of many...  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Neuro Surgeon Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.