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Old 03-01-2013, 05:03 AM   #1
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Red face Searching for anyone who has had this type of surgery...

Hi, my name is Tammy... I have been told that I need to have major surgery on my neck. They say I need to have a fusion at C-5,C-6, AND C-6, C-7, as well as a disk replacement at C-4, C-5. I will have to wear a bone growth stimulator for at least a month after the surgery because they are doing so much work, and the surgery time is 5 1/2 hours, at LEAST a three day hospital stay, with at least 8 weeks of recovery time.
Obviously, I am terrified because this is my neck and if something were to go wrong I would be paralysed. However, I am also not one to want to take pain mecication for the rest of my life and I am worried about the possibility of things getting worse(which they tell me is very likely). As it is I have limited use of my hand and am in constant pain. They say this surgery is not promised to make things better, just to stop them from getting worse, and that is a possibility as well.
This is ALOT of work to have done, its almost rebuilding one half of my neck...
Has anyone ever had this done? Anyone have any input? I am searching for recommendations, advice and someone who has either had it done, or knows someone who has so that I can get some information.
Thank you for your help!!!

 
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
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Re: Searching for anyone who has had this type of surgery...

Hi tammy, Sure there are lots of people that have had this surgery done here @ healthboards but they answer threads about these surgeries mostly on the spinal cord disorders & the back problem board. However, i dont recall reading about ADR & a fusion being done at the same time. Maybe you remember me from your first thread so that i dont have to go through all my history & bore you again but if not i had four lumbar surgeries & have pain to this day. Tammy, when considering back surgery myself i didnt understand then something that i know more about now. Spine problems are mostly about nerve compression, it causes pain but more importantly is compression going to cause permanent nerve damage, i had pain in my back & radiating pain down my legs b/c my discs were herniated on the left & right. But, nerve compression symptoms like the type that would cause nerve damage, maybe not so much. I could use all my body parts normally, had some numb toes that didnt move, but the symptoms of severe nerve compression like cant use a hand, or turn my head, arm wont lift, muscles becoming atrophied, of course these are cervical so i will say i didnt have a foot that didnt work or inability to walk. Here's my point, the symptoms of nerve compression were hardly noticeable it was pain i wanted to relieve & i had reasons i had to have the surgeries anyway like a spinal fluid leak but the pain i have now compared to the pain i had then is astronomically more. I had to have the leak fixed but if i had to do it over again i would have every test, see 3-4 spine only neurosurgeons or spine orthopedic surgeons to make positively sure that permanent nerve damage that was going to interfere in the function of my life, not dead toes or even sciatica, was imminent & going to happen on the word of 3 opinions & all testing results before i would consider it a plan for me. When i read my ring finger is numb or there is pain behind my knee i cringe because i could live with a tingling or numb finger or toe & i cant live with this pain unless of course i take narcotic pain medicine & i remember how you feel & think about their use. So, i had the surgeries & i still have to live on the pain medicines as there are no surgical options for me. And, my spine NS was world renowned people from all over the world came to him, he didnt botch my back but i ask myself if i had known that info about nerve compression would i have had the surgeries? But i dont have the information of if i would have had permanent nerve damage if i wouldnt have had the surgeries. Esi's helped my sons herniated disc to go back in. I had PT before surgery for 4 months so maybe it was needed but i only know one thing for sure the pain is worse 100◊ worse than before any of my spine surgery & remember mine was all lumbar. Surgery is the last resort to me & should be done only after every other treatment available has been tried many times & failed, or if it is absolutely impossible to live with the pain
even on pain medicine, or if many spinal surgeons opinion is that disability is most probable because of permanent nerve damage , in my honest opinion. I truly hope the answer to your problems found soon.

Last edited by gmak; 03-09-2013 at 07:14 PM. Reason: typos

 
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:00 AM   #3
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Re: Searching for anyone who has had this type of surgery...

Tammy, I had a similar surgery in 2007 - fusion with instrumentation C5-C7. Mine wasn't as involved as yours is going to be. I just had the fusion, I didn't have to have any disc replacement(s). So, I would imagine my recovery time wasn't as long as yours is likely to me. I think after 6 weeks, I was completely healed. Also, of all the surgeries I have had - this was the least painful post surgery. Within the first few days after surgery, I noticed I was already regaining strength I had lost in my hand and was able to feel my fingers again.So, I knew that the surgery did manage to make a difference where the nerve damage/compression was concerned. Prior to surgery, it had gotten to the point that I couldn't grip anything. I would just drop things - I had no grip. So, I felt so blessed to have my strength returning so soon.

I also had to use a bone growth stimulator (it was dropped off at my home within three days after I returned home). I used it religiously, and I believe it was a significant help with the healing process.

I have had several surgeries on my lumbar spine and have to say they cervical fusion was by far my most successful surgery. I rarely experience pain and it healed within the time the surgeon projected. My surgery was 5 years ago and I spent 3 days in the hospital.

On the one occasion that I was experiencing pain, My pain management gave me some injections right in her office and it helped a lot. But, as I say since having surgery 5 years ago, the only additional pain help I required was in 2012 and I think it was just because I had slept on my neck wrong.

I know everyone recovers different, but I have to say this particular surgery was one my faster recoveries. They went through my throat for the surgery, how will they be doing your surgery? The way they did my surgery, also helped in it heal faster.

As far as pain management goes, my surgeon handled all the pain management issues and I have to say he handled it well. There was no point that I felt lacking/needy when it came to requiring additional pain medication.

I recently was in a bad car accident and fractured c7. I may require another surgery, they just want to see how I do - symptoms, etc.

Please keep me posted on how you're doing. If you have any other questions, please let me know.


Fiona Jo
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080807-Cervical-Stim~071707-ACDF-C5-C7 w/instrumentation/bone graft~'07/06 Lumber instrum. removed 05/04-Fusion(DDD/Collapsed Disc L5-S1)08/99-Microdisectomy(Herniated Disc) ~Lupus/EDS,Migraine

Last edited by Fiona_Jo; 03-02-2013 at 12:05 AM.

 
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: Searching for anyone who has had this type of surgery...

Thanks for the info! Im glad to hear that your surgery was such a sucess! I hope that you heal quickly from the fracture and dont suffer any long terms issues from it!
They are planning to go in on the right side of my neck, as the left side has too many nerves that invole the vocal cords to enter there. The herniation is more to the left side, but they dont want to risk any more nerve damage. I have severe pain in my neck arm hand and fingers as well as numbness and loss of grip on the right side.
This weekend we were traveling home from Charlotte NC and a young man laid his motorcycle down on front of us on the interstate and we had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him, and since then, the pain has become extremely bad. I spend most of my day miserable!
I am terrified of the surgery as Im sure anyone who has this type is. The amount of work they are doing is scary. They will not be doing it in a normal hospital, they are sending me to the spine institute of Atlanta in ******* GA because the staff there is specially trained for this type of injury or surgery. That in itself worries me. We are shooting for a three day stay, but it will all depend on how I heal.
I have not committed to doing the surgery yet, as I am terrified. Also because the injury was caused by an accident, I have to wait on the insurance company to approve it. The attorney says that may not happen and I have already applied for disablity because it may not get paid for by the at fault insurance comany!
Anyway, I am rambling. I apologise Thanks again for responding and I will keep you updated. Please do the same! Take care and best of luck!
Tammy

 
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:09 PM   #5
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Re: Searching for anyone who has had this type of surgery...

Hi Tammy,
I had C5/6 fusion (ACDF) in 2007 and C6/7 (ACDF) in 2011. I am going to have to have C4/5 fusion (ACDF) very soon. I went back to work three weeks after the first two surgeries. I stayed in the hospital 2 nights with each. The recovery wasn't fun for me and it took a long time to regain overall strength. I never recovered much of the damage from the myelopathy - my hand still tingles, some left sided weakness, and I also did have ongoing chronic pain but I never took pain meds except for right after surgeries. Hope that helps, Lisa GOOD LUCK!

 
Old 03-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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Re: Searching for anyone who has had this type of surgery...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tammy3234 View Post
As it is I have limited use of my hand and am in constant pain. They say this surgery is not promised to make things better, just to stop them from getting worse, and that is a possibility as well.
This is ALOT of work to have done, its almost rebuilding one half of my neck...
Has anyone ever had this done? Anyone have any input? I am searching for recommendations, advice and someone who has either had it done, or knows someone who has so that I can get some information.
Thank you for your help!!!

I'm so sorry what you're going through. It sounds like you're in constant pain, I know surgery is a scary option, but it sounds like you are in good hands. The problem is when there are nerve related issues occurring, surgery is one of the only options. I know I tried everything prior to agreeing to surgery and even my PT felt the nerve compression was too severe for PT to be beneficial (as a matter of fact he was concerned it could worsen my condition). So, he just did light massage and heat therapy.

I know this is a decision you have to reach on your own. You are in my thoughts. Please keep us posted on what you decide and how you're doing.


~ Fiona Jo
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080807-Cervical-Stim~071707-ACDF-C5-C7 w/instrumentation/bone graft~'07/06 Lumber instrum. removed 05/04-Fusion(DDD/Collapsed Disc L5-S1)08/99-Microdisectomy(Herniated Disc) ~Lupus/EDS,Migraine

 
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