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C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

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Old 03-10-2005, 07:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
Grozny HB User
Question C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

I just had the C6-7 ACDF performed on Monday, 3/7. They removed the disc and put the titanium plate with screws to hold a donor bone graft. It seems to be successful. I suffered with a bulging disc for 20 years, and last month I herniated it, so I went forward with the surgery. It's only a couple days after the surgery now, and I still have some tingling and numbness in my left hand. My question is, does anybody have experience with this? Could it be normal that this will go away in time, or can anybody give me some advice about what I might experience over the next few weeks as a result of the surgery?

The positive part is the overwhelming majority of the pain in my left arm and hand is gone. I haven't had any occurrence of turning my head the wrong way where I feel like I really screwed something up - wearing a Miami collar. I've been walking a ton around the neighborhood and no problems from that. I've also taken myself almost completely off the pain killers that I've been on steadily over the last 3 or 4 weeks. I go in next week for the x-ray and talk with the surgeon.

Main question is does anybody have experience with this residual numbness and did it eventually go away completely?

Secondarily, I've been taking the collar off to shower. When I take the collar off, it doesn't hurt any more than when I have it on, and that seems like a good thing to me. Any precautions anyone would like to share with me about the value of wearing the collar constantly?

One last thing - does anybody have any recommendations for keeping the incision free of problems and minimizing any scarring? It's covered with Dermabond now.

Thanks very much for any info you all can provide.

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Old 03-11-2005, 07:48 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 555
dennisgb HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness


This is normal. It takes a while for the nerves to settle down after being pinched for so long. They say it can take up to six months. Mine settled down in about 6-8 weeks.

If your doctor told you not to take off the collar, you shouldn't. I had a soft foam collar they gave me to wear to shower. It's important not to move your neck much, especially at the early stages, because the only thing holding it is the hardware (there are many different opinions on this). I looked at it as, "do I want to mess this up, and go through the whole thing over again...or worse?). The question to ask is, what if something startles you while your taking a shower, and you twist your neck? It happened to me a few times, when I had the collar on, and it was a good thing, because I turned my neck hard against the collar.

Play it safe, keep a collar on.


Old 03-11-2005, 12:18 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
Grozny HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

Thank you, Dennis - it was really good to hear from you that yours subsided in 6 - 8 weeks. While I was waiting for a reply on the board, I called the neurosurgeon's office and spoke to one of the nurses, who said the same thing but didn't give me a time frame...also told me to keep the collar on. I have a hard-shell Miami collar that I wear 100% except in the shower, where I am VERY careful. I put it on immediately after. I did not get a soft one to wear while showering - the doctor told me I could take it off for that and shaving.

Thanks again - I appreciate all the info I can get!

PS - my name's not really Grozny, my name's Greg, but that was already taken!

Old 03-11-2005, 01:12 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 555
dennisgb HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness


Your really early out of surgery, and you will feel a lot of changes as you recover. The primary pain is the key. I had pretty much loss the use of my left arm, and my hand was numb all of the time.

I had ACDF with donor bone and plate at C5-6 and C6-7 on June 30, 2004. I felt major relief right out of surgery. I am pretty much back to normal. It took a while to get here though.

I still have a little residual nerve "numbness in the tip of my index finger". NS said this may or may not go away. I only feel it when I move my arm in certain positions. It is very minor and if it doesn't go away, it won't bother me.

Take it very easy and let your body heal.

You will get board with TV very soon


Old 03-12-2005, 09:58 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
Grozny HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

Hi Dennis,

Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it since I am new to this board. It is very good news that your numbness almost went away completely after 6 - 8 weeks. I called the NS office yesterday and the nurse advised me to wait for it to go away over several weeks.

The big plus is the operation did remove all of the major pain I was experiencing. It is an amazing difference.

Thanks again,

Old 03-13-2005, 04:06 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: northeast
Posts: 4
bigfella HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

just had c6/7 on wed 3/9 with own bone from hip. must stay in miami j for 3 mths. left arm feels good

Old 03-13-2005, 08:37 PM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 88
jaymz HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

hello i had an acdf c5-6 i had numbness pain tingling on my right side when i came out of surgery i have worse pain on both right and left sides . its only been 2 weeks but it feels 10 times worse good luck to ya! peace jaymz.....

Old 03-14-2005, 06:22 PM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 19
dezispec HB User
Re: C6-C7 ACDF: Post-surgery Numbness

It all sounds normal to me what you're experiencing. I had the exact same operation on 12/8/2004 with the same symptoms, and same collar. At 4 months post-op I still have the tingling and numbness in the index finger (mostly) and thumb (partially). Now and then I have a brief return of the sharp pain in the webbing between these fingers and numbess at the back of the hand. All-in-all it's going away slowly but surely in my opinion. I've had a few setbacks here and there but have come back a bit stronger each time. Good luck and don't let it get you down. The mental battle is the toughest part when you're post-op.


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