Anonymoose, great questions.
The surgeon believes that sensory symptoms don't count for beans and that patients should just live with their pain symptoms until motor symptoms start appearing. This strategy might be okay for the average patient, but I don't consider myself the average patient, especially because pain can, by itself, cause me to have exacerbations that bring new symptoms (both sensory and motor) and new lesions. This surgeon and others like him delay surgery for as long as possible with the hope that surgery won't ever be needed, but this strategy makes no sense to me for my case for several reasons.
The longer in time the cord is compressed/indented, the less chance there is that the cord will bounce back to its original shape and heal. Also, my CSF flow is being compromised by the spurs and stenosis, but the surgeon said he isn't concerned--I don't think he understands the importance of proper CSF flow. Another worry is that there is a point at which it becomes too late to remove bone spurs and stenosis, and with my poor luck, I would pass the point of no return if I wait like this surgeon wants--this is a risk I'd rather not take. Also, I've read that recovery from this surgery is easier at the 'moderate' stage than it is at the 'severe' stage, and I never recover well from anything. Cervical surgery has risks, but so does not having cervical surgery.
The surgeon completely disagreed with the radiologist's MRI report which leaves me very confused. The radiologist used the descriptor 'severe,' but the surgeon said, in his opinion, my spinal problems are only 'moderate' (the scale used is minimal, mild, moderate, severe).
The normal cord diameter is 10-12mm, and many surgeons believe the cord can safely withstand being compressed/indented to a diameter of 5-6mm. Maybe the average patient's cord can handle such compression, but I don't think my cord can because I already have demyelinating lesions at all levels of my cervical spinal problems, e.g., bone spurs, stenosis, etc. My cord has also been weakened by past lesions that no longer show up on MRI.
He wants to see me in six months for a follow-up appt, but I'd prefer to have the spurs removed now, so I plan to get a second and third opinion--and maybe even a fourth and fifth opinion--because this is my neck which is mighty important. Oh, how I wish I was a fish (no neck, an evolutionary leap I could have done without).
In the meantime, while I wait for more appointments for more opinions, I'll continue with AO chiro to help keep my CSF flowing as much as possible. I'm also going to drink a special vinegar recipe to help dissolve the spurs and stenosis--this worked for my father, though he ended up in the hospital due to acidosis because he drank too much straight vinegar which is a mistake I hope to avoid by use of the special recipe and instructions. I think the surgeon knew I would go the vinegar route because he told me not to try "any more Internet gimmicks" (I'm pretty sure he was referring to CCSVI).
If I find a surgeon willing to operate, I'll post an update.
Oh, btw, I like your name, Anonymoose. My guess is that you live in Canada or the state of Maine.