It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 08-10-2006, 09:37 PM   #1
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Posts: 35
NovRainDolly HB User
Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Pleased to meet you, all though I wish it didn't have to be under circumstances of chronic, agonizing pain, lol...

I wanted to share my history and MRI and future ACDF. I'm an almost 52 year old female that has experienced 25 years of neck and shoulder pain from being kicked up under my chin by a 200 lb biker. Wrong place at the wrong time.

Where do you start with 25 years of neck pain? I suppose those of you that have been in similiar situations need no explanation as to the nightmarish pain I've been experiencing. Up until now the Neurosurgeons have deemed me inoperable, and always recommended conservative therapy, which at best has only helped minimally. Approximately 16 years ago my pain worsened and then 8 years ago I began taking one Soma at night so I could sleep. It seems for me that most of my pain is related to severe muscle spasms which I constantly work on. Now, for the past 6 months I'm taking between 2 and 3 Somas plus .25 mg twice daily Xanax. The combination, with my Shiatsu back messager, stretching, using these glass blass for pressure points etc., and now hypnosis tapes is what I'm doing.

I just got my newest MRI back and basically what it says is that C4/5, C 5/6 & C6/7 have disc disease with thecal sac and cord structure obliteration from the lower margin of C4 to upper margin of C7. Severe narrowing of the canal with foramen encroachment bilaterally at C4/5 & C5/6 region. There is also alot of osteophytes.

So...this is what the Neurosurgeon that will be operating on me is going to do. He is going to perform the ACDF at levels 4/5 & 5/6 and says that probably in 8 to 10 years will need 7 done as well. He's not going to use an allograft or an autograft as he says he doesn't do that anymore. He's going to remove the two discs and grind them into powder and mix it with a bone growth substance and put it into two cages, reinsert and place a Medronic titanium plate.

I thought at first that this was just for stabilization and that I would not be able to expect pain relief. He was very surprised and said he's almost sure that I will have great pain relief or why else would he be doing it? He's the Chief Neurosurgeon For Loma Linda Hospital in Loma Linda, California. He is also the teaching physician. He comes with an extensive Cirriculum Vitae. and says in the hands of an extremely skilled Neurosurgeon (being humble didn't point to himself) he says that I should be very happy with the results.

After reading different message boards at other sites I've seen some horror stories about not being able to swallow afterward and choking even after seven months. This has me scared. I know that at this point in my life I have absolutely no other options and am willing to do anything to get out of this horrid, horrid pain. Has anybody here had continuing swallowing problems with lump in throat? I would expect that for awhile but the thought of it never going away is frightening.

Any input would be greatly appreciated, and I'm wondering if anybody else has heard of this new bone fusion techniqe that I described above without using the cadaver bone or hip bone?

Bye for Now!
Dolly

Last edited by NovRainDolly; 08-10-2006 at 09:44 PM. Reason: wrong words

 
The following user gives a hug of support to NovRainDolly:
Karendg71291 (10-28-2010)
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 08-11-2006, 03:28 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
(male)
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 568
zeroman HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

a friend of mine had a couple ACDFs, the last one about 6 months ago. as I recall he said he only had pain swallowing for a week or so. after than just occasional discomfort for a couple more weeks. hes had all cervical levels fused but one. at this point hes doing very well.

as far as not using bone for fusing, thats becoming more and more the norm. I had no bone used, just BMP (the bone growth substance) and cages for my lumbar double fusion. BMP has results as good or better than using your own bone.
__________________
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!

 
The following user gives a hug of support to zeroman:
Karendg71291 (10-28-2010)
Old 08-11-2006, 10:22 PM   #3
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Posts: 35
NovRainDolly HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeroman
a friend of mine had a couple ACDFs, the last one about 6 months ago. as I recall he said he only had pain swallowing for a week or so. after than just occasional discomfort for a couple more weeks. hes had all cervical levels fused but one. at this point hes doing very well.

as far as not using bone for fusing, thats becoming more and more the norm. I had no bone used, just BMP (the bone growth substance) and cages for my lumbar double fusion. BMP has results as good or better than using your own bone.
Hi "Z"
Thanks for the positive feedback. Every little bit helps. I didn't know they called what I'm getting BMP. That's much easier! I'll keep you posted and I glad that you are doing well. I wish mine was Lumbar instead of cervical, but at least this isn't 20 years ago. Looking at the glass half full here!

Thanks again!
DD

 
Old 08-14-2006, 05:30 PM   #4
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,228
Sage48 HB UserSage48 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

I had an ACDF at C5/6 in Jan. 2004. The swallowing was the hardest part of the surgery for me. Didn't realize that there would be the amount of swelling in the throat....almost drowned myself with my first sip of water!!! Just remember to take very, very small sips...very little ones to start and you'll be ok. I didn't really eat much for several days. (I had some issues with medications...threw up for 3 days...now that was fun). Once you start eating, just remember to chew up tiny amounts (soft food is good, milkshakes are great!), and to keep water handy...just to help it go down... I am not telling you this to scare you, just to prepare you in case it happens to you.. My brother in law had his second ACDF in Dec. 05...he was eating in the recovery room...yes he did have some swelling, but he used the small sips of water to wash the food down!! He did wonderful... So you can understand, it's not that horrible...really....just have to realize you aren't going to be eating a hamburger and fries for a few days!!
My neck has done pretty well...great neurosurgeon...I do have some arthritis in there...as well as some more problems, but my ACDF worked. My arm, which had shrunk, because of nerve damage regained it's normal appearance, and I regained most of my strength in my hand.....because they waited so long to fix me, I do have some nerve damage, & loss of strength in my hand, but it really isn't too bad.

Would I have the ACDF done again. You bet, I would. It eliminated 98 percent of the pain...and I can concentrate on other things now.....like getting my lower back fixed! (I hurt both neck and lower back in a fall almost four years ago.)
Good luck to you....you'll do fine, a couple of weeks after the ACDF you'll be on the road to recovery....(I remember taking my Mother and Mother in law to a casino 6 weeks after my surgery....and I drove for 1 1/2 hr. each way!! no I lost that day...but what the heck!)

Sage

 
Old 08-19-2006, 12:09 PM   #5
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Posts: 35
NovRainDolly HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Hi Sage!
Thank you so much for the heads up on the issue of the throat swelling. I will definitely use my straws and take itty bitty sips and itty bitty bites followed by itty bitty sips, lol...I'm so glad you brought up the vomiting issue too because I ALWAYS vomit after anesthesia and was wondering just how detremental it could be to a neck fusion. I am not relishing the thought of throwing up violently whilst holding my neck and then choking with a swollen throat. Egads!

I'm glad to hear that you have done so well with your surgery and that you have realized such a great reduction in pain. I can only pray for the same, as I sit here wishing that I could someday live a few hours without agony. The pain is really taking it's toll on my physical and mental well being and it seems as if I can't remember a time without pain.

Thanks again for your support and advice and I'll will write when I'm on my feet. My surgery is scheduled for Aug 29.

Bye For Now!
Diann

 
Old 08-20-2006, 08:30 PM   #6
PNo PNo is offline
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 1,197
PNo HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

The swallowing isn't what I would call painful - its more just a choking sensation. most people get a very sore throat, difficulty pushing some foods and pills down for a week. sometimes it can last a little longer, progressively getting better each day. I dranks lots of fluids at each meal.

I am a person who has had 2 conventional ACDF surgeries 1st in 2004 C4-6 two level with donor bone and plating. The second in may 2006, C6-7 with donor bone and plating.

The only advice I offer is that it is quite possible that you will not get 100% recovery but could get significant recovery. I am surprised your surgeon didn't tell you this - you have gone a very long time with problems and pain. The prognosis for excellent results is best when problems are addressed early in the cycle. Nerves after years and years of irritation may not competely heal and you might still experience some level of pain, most likely a much lower level and one you can live with. I had heard of a couple people using the BMP procedure with the bone paste and they seem to do well - expecially as you are getting plating.

Good luck.

 
Old 08-20-2006, 09:29 PM   #7
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: australia gold coast
Posts: 19
mthu2189 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Good Luck with you ACDF NovRainDolly,
I had a ACDF in March 06 my c5/6 fused with a metal bolt with my own bone shavings in it, it seems to be going fine so the neuro says. Funny after l had the surgery l didn't have a great deal of discomfort with swallowing, due to me having a long slender neck (so the neuro says) but now months on l can feel a sort of lump in my throat at times, after l am bending forward & down, doing things, like cooking, empty dishwasher, vaccuming, picking things up off the floor you know all that life stuff!! So if anyone else seems to know what thats all about, l would love to know why l get it. My neck is still sore, although l am told it is not meant to be anymore! Suppose l am just not like everyone else eh?My neuro is not the most understanding sort of bloke and dismisses pain very easily!! Says l will have to go to a throat specialist because he doesn't know why l would feel that lump in there!!! hmmm

 
Old 08-22-2006, 09:53 PM   #8
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Ca, USA
Posts: 38
DollyD6343 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by neckpatient
The swallowing isn't what I would call painful - its more just a choking sensation. most people get a very sore throat, difficulty pushing some foods and pills down for a week. sometimes it can last a little longer, progressively getting better each day. I dranks lots of fluids at each meal.

I am a person who has had 2 conventional ACDF surgeries 1st in 2004 C4-6 two level with donor bone and plating. The second in may 2006, C6-7 with donor bone and plating.

The only advice I offer is that it is quite possible that you will not get 100% recovery but could get significant recovery. I am surprised your surgeon didn't tell you this - you have gone a very long time with problems and pain. The prognosis for excellent results is best when problems are addressed early in the cycle. Nerves after years and years of irritation may not competely heal and you might still experience some level of pain, most likely a much lower level and one you can live with. I had heard of a couple people using the BMP procedure with the bone paste and they seem to do well - expecially as you are getting plating.

Good luck.
Hi NP~
Thanks for the heads up on the swallowing issue. I've been wondering how I'm going to be able to swallow the pills without choking. I've been realistic as far as pain reduction goes. I've never thought for one minute that I would end up completely pain free. I'd be happy with 50% at this point.

I'm surprised you had to have C6-7 surgery so quickly after. My doc says that will be next for me as well but said it would probably be years though there is significant cord impingment. This is all such an unknown and so variable and I'm just going to have to take it a day at a time like the rest of you.

Have you improved as a result of your surgeries?

Diann

 
Old 08-22-2006, 10:01 PM   #9
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Ca, USA
Posts: 38
DollyD6343 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mthu2189
Good Luck with you ACDF NovRainDolly,
I had a ACDF in March 06 my c5/6 fused with a metal bolt with my own bone shavings in it, it seems to be going fine so the neuro says. Funny after l had the surgery l didn't have a great deal of discomfort with swallowing, due to me having a long slender neck (so the neuro says) but now months on l can feel a sort of lump in my throat at times, after l am bending forward & down, doing things, like cooking, empty dishwasher, vaccuming, picking things up off the floor you know all that life stuff!! So if anyone else seems to know what thats all about, l would love to know why l get it. My neck is still sore, although l am told it is not meant to be anymore! Suppose l am just not like everyone else eh?My neuro is not the most understanding sort of bloke and dismisses pain very easily!! Says l will have to go to a throat specialist because he doesn't know why l would feel that lump in there!!! hmmm
Hi There!
I also have a long, slender neck, so let's hope what your NS said is true about that. Glad to hear that you are doing well after the BMP and cage. I assume that is what you mean when you say they used your own bone shavings. Are you doing neck stretches or physical therapy? Where was your pain before surgery? Did you have the really bad shoulder pain with muscle spasms?

Diann

 
Old 08-24-2006, 01:29 PM   #10
NYD NYD is offline
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 71
NYD HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Hello Diann.

I just had C5/6 done on Aug 14th and only had issues with my throat for 4-5 days. Just chew chew chew!

good luck!

 
Old 08-24-2006, 04:18 PM   #11
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: LaSalle, Colorado, USA
Posts: 40
bdh7 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Hi Diann...thought I would put in my two cents about the swallowing. I'm about 2 1/2 weeks post op, still can't swallow well...pain comes and goes, but always feels like there's something stuck in my throat. It was one of the issues I was most afraid of going into surgery! However, I met a lady in my surgeon's office last week who had her surgery one week before mine; she woke up the next morning and had french toast and bacon for breakfast! I couldn't even swallow my coffee or Malto-o-Meal. This is to say that it is very different for different people. So, if you do have swallowing problems, I have found applesauce to be the best for swallowing pills, but if they are very large (Vicodin!) I have to break them in half or crush them. Be sure to check with doc/pharmacist before you break or crush any pills, though...some should not be altered in any way (i.e. oxycontin, etc. Usually if a pill is scored, it is safe to break it at the score.) I also use puddings to help with swallowing, although applesauce seems to work better for me. I have had days where even swallowing small bits of potato in potato soup is a problem, so just in case, I would recommend you having at least a few very smooth soups, broths, or puddings on hand.

It hasn't been as bad as I feared before surgery...it's just something I am learning to live with for now, and hope that it will go away someday soon! Take care, and I hope everything goes well for you.
Donna

Last edited by bdh7; 08-24-2006 at 04:43 PM.

 
Old 08-24-2006, 06:02 PM   #12
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Ca, USA
Posts: 38
DollyD6343 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Thanks all for the heads up on the chewing and swallowing. These boards are sooooo great. I don't know what I'd do without them. It's great to learn from everyone else's experiences. I will make sure that I hang around so that I can too help people when they need it. I'm going to make sure that I get plenty of soft foods, puddings, applesauce, soups, etc... so I don't starve to death. I'll make sure I have a pill cutter on hand like you said, and use a straw and sip, sip, sip...chew...chew...chew...LOL!

DD

 
Old 08-27-2006, 09:05 PM   #13
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: australia gold coast
Posts: 19
mthu2189 HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DollyDnovrain
Hi There!
I also have a long, slender neck, so let's hope what your NS said is true about that. Glad to hear that you are doing well after the BMP and cage. I assume that is what you mean when you say they used your own bone shavings. Are you doing neck stretches or physical therapy? Where was your pain before surgery? Did you have the really bad shoulder pain with muscle spasms?

Diann
Hi Diann
Before the operation, l had huge pain in my left arm and went all the way to my thumb and index finger going tingly pins and needles. Now , l have some new symptoms, its on my right side!! go figure, and the NEURO is not impressed! Can't seem to get many answers, maybe its insability the neuro says, as he did not put a plate and screws to stabilize, he only used just the cage in between c5/6 with the bone shavings from me. The pain radiates down my neck on flextion movements and extentions movements across my right shoulder down into the top outer muscle in my right arm, at times my pinky finger goes numb!! l have alot of pain in my chest when l bend forward, again any extention and flextion.. the pain in my neck never goes away...when l do bend forward l can feel that lump in my throat again!! its been 4 months since my ACDF, all of the symptoms in my left arm have now gone since the ACDF
thanks

monica

 
Old 08-28-2006, 03:07 PM   #14
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Posts: 35
NovRainDolly HB User
Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

Oh Monica,
I'm so sorry to hear of your continuing problems after surgery. It's so discouraging when we go in with hopes of becoming at least partially pain free and end up with another bunch of problems. I hope that you and your physician are able to work something out to help with all of your pain. That's exactly what I'm afraid of, going into surgery in agony and coming out wanting to contact Doctor Kavorkian.

All The Best To You!
DD

 
Old 09-06-2006, 08:41 PM   #15
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 1
wsbennett HB User
Smile Re: Hi Everybody...ACDF Surgery coming up!

I had ACDF surgery on July 12. My surgeon recommended a 3-level ACDF of C3-4, C4-5 and C5-6 with plating. I got two second opinions and they both thought I should only have a 1-level ACDF of C5-6. I decided to go with the 1-level of just C5-6, but I had the surgeon who recommended the 3-level ACDF do the 1-level operation. He warned me that I might not get complete relief of my symptoms. I was worried about loss of neck mobility if 3 levels were fused. Surgery went well. My surgeon used cadaver bone. He used the Cloward technique. He did not need to install plating. No nausea from anesthesia. Checked out the next day. Noticed prompt pain relief in arms, but not total relief. Only had mild trouble swallowing. Was eating a steak 5 days after surgery. Had to wear a cervical collar for 6 weeks after surgery. Felt very good to get the collar off. It was difficult to sleep with it on. Ambien helped. Still have some residual pain in my arms -- mostly in the left arm. I started PT after the collar came off. Therapist says I have very good range of motion in my neck. I don't really notice any reduction. I am hoping residual arm pain gradually declines over several months. Surgeon says residual arm pain should be mostly gone by now. He suspects residual arm pain might be caused by nerve root compression at other levels he had recommended operating on. He might be right. Time will tell. At least symptoms have improved significantly after just doing the worst level (C5-6). Good luck to you. It is a scary decision. My recommendation is to only go through with it if you have a high degree of confidence in your surgeon.

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon bonniebell444 Spinal Cord Disorders 22 09-27-2010 07:00 AM
Advice on new treatments other than ACDF for cervical stenosis with myelopathy frustratedlor Spinal Cord Disorders 19 07-11-2010 10:32 AM
Anyone had frozen shoulder type symptoms Post ACDF? Bobbyboo Spinal Cord Disorders 11 07-04-2010 10:39 AM
acdf of C4-C5 in '00, C5-C6-C-7 in '06... still in pain. now facet injections? helenoftroy Spinal Cord Disorders 2 11-13-2008 06:05 PM
Results from Neuro apt. 2 level ACDF coming soon! Scared skych Spinal Cord Disorders 6 06-12-2008 10:35 AM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:42 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!