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Old 11-08-2004, 03:20 PM   #1
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NervousMommy HB User
Exclamation HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Hello Board,

At the end of month I will be undergoing ACDF surgery, two-level.

My surgeon will be using the cages and I will have to wear a hard collar after surgery for approximately one month.

QUESTIONS:

Has anyone had CAGES inserted? If so, how are you feeling post op?

If you have had plating, I know that you do not need a collar, however, how are you feeling post op?

Could patients with CAGES WRITE ME ASAP.

Anyone has any recommendations!
NEED ANSWERS ASAP ME!
Today is my appointment with surgeon in three hours...
my final appointment until the operation day.

Thanks you!

 
Old 11-09-2004, 07:37 AM   #2
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dennisgb HB User
Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Nervous,

I had two level ACDF with plating and wore the collar for 14 weeks. Not all docs allow patients with plating to not wear collar. Some are very conservative (like mine).

I worked with the people that developed the BAK cage SpineTech. It has a pretty good success record.

Don't know the recovery path, etc.

Good Luck,

Dennis

 
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:16 AM   #3
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EmtShirl HB User
Thumbs up Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

NervousMommy ~

I do not have cages in the cervical levels I had done but I do have BAK cages in my lumbar levels L4-S1. As for that surgery I feel very good now almost 4 years later. The problems with my cages though is that there is some micromovement on the posterior side which is causing sensory numbness on my back side from my waist down to my feet but I have no pain. I may have to have posterior sometime to add rods and screws to stabilize the posterior side.

I have a plate at C6-7 and the one I had at C4-6 was removed because it is fused. I just had posterior cervical fusion on Sept. 14 of this year from C3-7 with rods and screws. I am still in my Aspen (hard) collar most of the time and by the end of the month I will be half way out and the other have in my soft collar. I am also feeling better then expected from this last surgery as well. to sum it all up I had 2 posterior lumbar surgeries and 1 anterior lumbar fusion. I also had 2 anterior cervical fusion's and 1 posterior fusion and I am feeling better then I have in years!

Good luck to you!

Shirl
__________________
Love,
Shirl
History:

1980- Transaxillary resection of 1st rib and division of band (left side)
1982- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1985- Transaxillary excision of cervical rib (right side)
1991- Laser stapedectomy (right side)
1992- Fractional D&C
1992- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1996- Lumbar hemilaminectomy
1999- Left knee arthoscopic surgery
2001- Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy
2002- L5-S1 Microdiscectomy
2002- L4-L5, L5-S1 Anterior inter-body lumbar fusion with cages and my own bone from left hip for bone graft
2002- Neck problems Surgery??????
2002 DEC 21- C4-5, C5-C6 Anterior Cervical Corpectomy with Fusion and Internal Fixation (Bone from the bone bank)

 
Old 11-09-2004, 12:56 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 21
NervousMommy HB User
Lightbulb Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Thank you for your replies...

I will be having a two level surgery performed the end of the month.
BAK cages, C5-6 and C6-7 ACDF without plating.
(LORD, BLESS THE SURGEON'S HANDS)

FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE HAD MORE THAN ONE LEVEL--I was wondering, can you tell me if you can turn your head?
Can you look up and down with ease? BOTTOMLINE, are you feeling ALMOST BACK TO NORMAL YET?

HOW LONG is the ASPEN COLLAR TIME FRAME for those of you that had no plating?

Once again, I know you can tell that I am a little nervous however, I do thank each and every one of you for your wonderful posts.

Tons of THANKS!
Marilyn

Dennis, enjoy Hawaii next FEBRUARY!

Last edited by NervousMommy; 11-09-2004 at 01:06 PM.

 
Old 11-10-2004, 07:31 AM   #5
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Posts: 556
dennisgb HB User
Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Nervous Mommy,

My ACDF was two levels c5-6 and c6-7. I am at the point where I can move my neck pretty freely (4 months post op), but I am somewhat reluctant to see were the end of motion is in my neck. Doc says this is a good thing. I would say that I have lost about 20-25% of motion. When backing the car, I have to turn my upper torso to see. I have trouble when a driving situation places my car more than 90 degrees from the road, like enterances or roads that come in at an angle. This is very difficult, because even with upper body turned I have trouble seeing oncoming traffic. If I have a passenger I ask them. I have added little round contour mirrors to help see cars close to me in blind spots, because if they fall out of normal mirror and are more than 90 degrees behind, you can't turn far enough to see them. Docs told me this would be a needed learning curve.

In normal activity the loss of motion doesn't seem to bother me. It is actually hard to tell the difference. Driving you can tell.

Dennis

 
Old 11-12-2004, 09:35 AM   #6
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Posts: 21
NervousMommy HB User
Thumbs up Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Thank you for replying, what you said about driving is exactly what I am doing now! So pretty much have to deal with the same issues for the rest of my life! Oh well, things could be worse and it surely isn't all that bad.

Thank you verymuch for your post!

Much appreciated!
Nervous Mommy

Still getting over the fact that I will be wearing the collar for so long.
My doctor said approx. six weeks, remember I have no plating so I think it will be longer.

 
Old 11-15-2004, 08:28 AM   #7
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Posts: 75
grace2 HB User
Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

I had ACDF on March 16, 2004 on C 5-6 & C 6-7. I have the BAK cages in both places. My neurosurgeon said that the cages are stable enough without ever wearing a collar. I was worried about that, but he does put a soft collar on everyone after surgery and you can remove it as soon as you feel comfortable. I wore it about a week, and then got rid of it.

My recovery has been normal, I guess. I went back to work about 2 weeks after surgery. I am able to do anything I did before surgery (except go to the chiropractor - he said I have to wait one year). All the pain and numbness is gone. I did wear a fusion stimulator for a few months because it was more than one level. My neck gets stiff still, but I didn't go to PT. I now think maybe I should have. I can move in any direction. I can turn my head about even with my shoulders each way. I cannot touch my chin to my chest. That sounds dumb until you try to fold sheets or blankets and miss it.

Good luck with your surgery. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I didn't feel that way until at least a week after surgery. I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and had a really rough few days. Don't expect to be normal immediately, but someday.

 
Old 11-15-2004, 06:33 PM   #8
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Location: AZLE TX
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tintx HB User
Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Marilyn,
I hope you find out what you need to know to feel good/ok about your upcoming procedure. I don't have any experience, yet, since I'll be having a 1 level acdf, probably next week, with plate and screws (ns says instr. required because i'm a smoker, yet another, albeit not anticipated, reason for not smoking!)Anyway, good luck with your surgery.
I really appreciate the many people here who share their very positive outcomes. People like Shirl and Dennis, bless you! I'm just hoping that surgery will improve a lot of my symptoms, and take my spinal cord out of harm's way, of course. I've been "adapting" to a lot of unpleasant physical stuff for a few years now, not to mention vacillating at times between self doubt (am i a hypochondriac?) to just knowing something was off and that I should trust myself! I believe there's been some grace going on, and my surgery is coming just at the right time. I'm grateful this was discovered before it became an emergency, but it's sure been an uphill battle with the doctors.
Good luck, and keep us posted.
Tintx

 
Old 11-16-2004, 07:56 AM   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: New Berlin, Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 338
EmtShirl HB User
Smile Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Tintx ~

Thank you and you are so welcome. I really do believe people with success stories should post and give others hope and information on what they have been through. What better information to get then from one who has been on that table? I wish you the best out come with your procedure!

Shirl
__________________
Love,
Shirl
History:

1980- Transaxillary resection of 1st rib and division of band (left side)
1982- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1985- Transaxillary excision of cervical rib (right side)
1991- Laser stapedectomy (right side)
1992- Fractional D&C
1992- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1996- Lumbar hemilaminectomy
1999- Left knee arthoscopic surgery
2001- Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy
2002- L5-S1 Microdiscectomy
2002- L4-L5, L5-S1 Anterior inter-body lumbar fusion with cages and my own bone from left hip for bone graft
2002- Neck problems Surgery??????
2002 DEC 21- C4-5, C5-C6 Anterior Cervical Corpectomy with Fusion and Internal Fixation (Bone from the bone bank)

 
Old 11-16-2004, 08:49 AM   #10
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 556
dennisgb HB User
Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tintx
Marilyn,
I hope you find out what you need to know to feel good/ok about your upcoming procedure. I don't have any experience, yet, since I'll be having a 1 level acdf, probably next week, with plate and screws (ns says instr. required because i'm a smoker, yet another, albeit not anticipated, reason for not smoking!)Anyway, good luck with your surgery.
I really appreciate the many people here who share their very positive outcomes. People like Shirl and Dennis, bless you! I'm just hoping that surgery will improve a lot of my symptoms, and take my spinal cord out of harm's way, of course. I've been "adapting" to a lot of unpleasant physical stuff for a few years now, not to mention vacillating at times between self doubt (am i a hypochondriac?) to just knowing something was off and that I should trust myself! I believe there's been some grace going on, and my surgery is coming just at the right time. I'm grateful this was discovered before it became an emergency, but it's sure been an uphill battle with the doctors.
Good luck, and keep us posted.
Tintx
TinTx,

I appreciate your kind words, however, I try to give back what I received here prior to my surgery and the support I have gotten afterwards.

Ditch the self doubt, if your body is in pain...it's in pain. This stuff can mask itself and make you feel at times like it's really not there, but I can attest to the pain that becomes so bad that you can't do much of anything. Take a look at your MRI, when I saw mine, I was in shock at first. Surgeon said "It hurts me just to look at this."

The one thing that I am so thankful for after surgery, is not having that overall dull pain, that you can't explain, but makes you feel ill. I used to feel sick from that pain. The sharp pains, you can describe and locate...that dull overall stuff...who knows. Towards the end (prior to surgery), I could sit for only a few minutes. I could stand for only a few minutes. I could walk for only a little distance. I couldn't sleep. I was moving all the time...awake, trying to sleep, working. You could never find a place where you felt comfortable.

I lived with this for 20 years, all be it not terrible until the last two. I am glad to be feeling 20 years younger.

BTW, I smoked for many years. I quit in 1995 for 5 1/2 years. Started again in 2001. Quit again 8 weeks before my surgery. I haven't had a cigarette since May 1st. I used the surgery and docs telling me I would heal better as "leverage" to stop again.

"It's easy to quit smoking, I've done it a hundred times."

Mark Twain

Last edited by dennisgb; 11-16-2004 at 08:49 AM.

 
Old 11-16-2004, 06:08 PM   #11
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Location: AZLE TX
Posts: 64
tintx HB User
Smile Re: HELP-ADVICE - Cages or Plating?

Thanks for your posts! Dennis, 10-4 on reciprocity, and it's a wonderful thing, isn't it? I, too, had stopped smoking (2000), but started again about a year ago. Time to quit again! At least I'm not smoking as much as before, and will have 6 weeks away from 7th graders to deal with my withdrawal, otherwise they might be in danger, ha-ha.

You're right about the pain, it's insidious, the way it gradually takes on greater and greater dimension in one's life. I've never been one to complain about minor stuff, and I think some of my co-workers don't realize what I'm dealing with physically. I had sinus surgery last year, and am still prone to sinus infections--taking antibiotics for another one now. There's always a nasty respiratory ailment goin round the school.

It has just felt kind of lonely, not knowing what was really wrong. Oh, menopause also occurred in the last few years, so it's been a physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting time all around. At 50, this is only my 4th year of teaching, and we bought a house in 2003--a foreclosure that needed "reconditioning" from the roof to the pool. Life's not been a party, but I can't complain about having a job and a home!

I'll be glad when I can have less focus on my physical ailments! I know we're all gettin older, and it's natural to decline. I'm actually in excellent health, besides my neck, and post menopause complaints. Even the surgery can be considered a blessing. thanks for enduring my philosophizing
Tintx

 
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