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Old 09-16-2008, 08:53 AM   #1
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Jay Bee HB User
ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

I'll be having surgery this Saturday morning... I'm a 33 yr old male, generally healthy, I suppose. Work a desk job. ACDF c5/6 with a donor bone and metal plate...

Based on what the neurosurgeon said, I am hoping to take off the 9/22 work week and start back 9/29 -- perhaps from home that week. I suspect I will be itching to work the week of 9/22 (i.e. a couple days after surgery) but will try to limit myself as needed. 3 weeks or so in soft collar, then start up PT shortly thereafter for 10-12 visits.

Thanks to all who post here - some great ideas and knowledge from many of you. I've got an army of pillows, bendy straws, and various drinks and soft foods all ready.

I haven't surgery in my adult life and was definitely freaked when surgery first came up several weeks ago... but at this point I'm trying to remain confident. All I need to do is show up on Saturday and when I wake up the surgery will be over. After that, my job is to remain upbeat emotionally and work on healing. Doesn't sound too bad. There are a lot of you who have gone through this and over surgeries multiple times and have worse conditions -- I'm getting off easy in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, best wishes to all and I'll plan on reporting back early next week.

Regards,

Jay Bee

 
Old 09-17-2008, 06:32 AM   #2
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Hi Jay Bee,

Just wanted to say "Good Luck" for your surgery on Saturday! I will keep you in my prayers! As far as starting work again so soon.... YIKES. I really wouldn't. Trust me I've been there, and done that after two ACDF surgeries, and paid for it dearly! You really really need to take it easy at least for a couple of weeks if anything! The average recovery is about 6-8 weeks, and believe me your body will need it.

My brother just had his 2nd ACDF surgery, and had his 4th disc taken out ,and he went back to work 2 weeks later even though I told him he would probably be sorry. Now at 4 weeks post op he understands what I was talking about, and is thinking about taken more time off. Listen to your body, and take care of it! I learned the hard way, but my body would definitely tell me when it was too much. My neuro told me that I could go back to work in 7 to 10 days, but that is just insane! I am still mad that he didn't tell me to take more time to recover, because it made me think that there was something wrong with me, when in fact there was nothing wrong with me, and I was on the right road to recovery.

Let us know how it goes!

Annette
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C5/C6 ACDF 08-22-06
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:45 PM   #3
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Hey all.. I'm 36 hours post-op from ACDF of c5/6.

Surgery at 9am CDT yesterday 9/20.. discharged about 2pm CDT today 9/21. Overall, things went real well. Some pain yesterday in the upper back from left to the right... pain meds and steriods remedied that quite well. Doing fine today. Swallowing has been a little painful, much better today. Surgical site didn't bother me much yesterday, today more tender, but again nothing too significant.

In a soft collar, can take off for bed... but may just keep on loosely as it is a comfort (at this point at least). I definitely am going to need to behave myself and take it easy.. thanks in large part to other posts on this board, I have things setup quite nicely at home although I had some family rearrange some furniture today...

Ahh well, time to watch the end of Sunday Night Football and try to get some good z's. Oh.. .showering --> a comment and question -->
So, my incision is 'glued' or something. So, I can get it wet/take a shower right away. Just don't want to soak it / take a bath. Then to dry, just pat it down.

Anyone had this? No concerns? I am leaning towards still saran-wrapping or something to keep it dry, just in case.. does a little saran-wrap seem like a good option, or is there something else you'd recommend?

Regards,

Jay Bee

-----------------
ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08

 
Old 09-25-2008, 06:01 AM   #4
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Jay Bee HB User
Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Wow.. Thursday the 25th already. Overall, things have been pretty smooth and uneventful. Yesterday I reduced the use of some of the pain meds.. was doing pretty well, but didn't have a good night of sleep. Still hard to get comfortable if I'm not propped up...

Yesterday was feeling real good and energized.. had visitors for about an hour and when they left I was asleep within minutes. As much as I am tempted to jump right back into working full-time, my body is giving me reminders to take it slow, so I've gotta continue to do so.

Went on some nice walks yesterday.. one for about 15 minutes... biggest pain is still upper back.. like from the base of the neck out towards the shoulders. Muscle spasm stuff helps tame this... everything still very manageable pain-wise.

I'll wear the soft collar til Oct 16... might try driving next week into work a couple of days, and work from home the rest of the time.. not sure yet. Taking a shower with this glue-stuff on the incision freaking rocked.. was easy, no problems. Amazing stuff. Although my neck does continue to look like I was in a mild slasher-flick.. hard to imagine it'll be difficult to tell I had the incinsion 6 months down the line, but... we'll see.

For work, I wear a shirt and tie everyday. I'm planning on doing something alternative while wearing the collar, but my sense of style and understanding of clothing is horrendous.. any ideas? I will probably just wear khakis and some type of shirt.. button-up or zip up, that doesn't have a big collar and doesn't look like total crap. If there are any specific stores/websites I should consider, please advise!!

Oh.. and all bendy straws are not created equal. The first batch I had were smaller and were cracking with high frequency. I went to a more robust model two days ago and my quality of drinking stuff has skyrocketed! Invest in bendy straws! $1.29 for 50 vs. $0.79 for 75... yes, hits you in the pocket book, but in my experience has been well worth it.

So, besides the back/neck being a bit uncomfy and not getting more than a few hours of sleep in a row.. the surgical site has mild pain at times and swallowing is still just a little weird, though the icky effects have dissipated greatly over the past few days.

Good luck to all! Sorry for the babble above. The summary is that I am overall doing quite well!

Regards,

Jay Bee

 
Old 09-29-2008, 05:01 AM   #5
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Hi Jay Bee

Was wondering how you were doing, only having had your surgery 3 days before mine.. Ready to rip your collar to shreds yet? Only 5 weeks 2 more days to wear mine.....argh..

grin

 
Old 09-29-2008, 09:46 AM   #6
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Hi! Doing well.. it's been nice to see others going through similar procedures at the same time! We've come a long ways... !

I washed the soft collar given to me at the hospital yesterday and put on one I had bought from Walgreens.. the Walgreens one is a bit larger/bulkier, but actually feels a lot more supportive. I am guessing I may be reluctant when its time to totally stop using it.. definitely does provide some security.

I am keeping up on my meds... still some discomfort, nothing too major. The location of the pain is the .. upper back... geez, what do you call it? Basically from the base of the neck out towards the shoulders... that's where it gets tense and sore. Perc's and valium to help with that. Otherwise, in pretty good shape.

Burping still feels kinda of 'weird'... can't pinpoint/explain real well what the feeling is.. its just different... but not a big deal.

I am at work right now! (office job). I drove for the first time since surgery today... went OK. I was careful... as careful as I could be. Nice to drive again!! I am going to head home early afternoon after being here about 6 hours.. more just walking around talking to people than anything else. Tomorrow I will work from home and Wednesday plan on coming back in again.. Thursday and Friday, not sure.. either work from home or come in. I can do pretty much everything from home, so no huge need to physically be here.

I've been at work for about 3 hours.. a little bit wiped out. Could go for a nap! Yesterday I started doing probably a bit too much.. cleaning / bending down / reaching to clean stuff.. nothing major, but its getting more and more difficult to refrain from activities.

I go for x-rays Oct 16. At that time I think I'll be done with the collar and will likely start PT shortly thereafter.. about 10-12 visits. Sleeping still basically sucks.. 2.5 hours is the most I usually do in a row.. I have been laying on my back, which I didn't do pre-surgery.. ugh!
Actually some of the best sleep I have had... is, after I take some meds, I sit on the couch, with a pillow up against the wall where my head is.. I am essentially sitting up.... then fall asleep like that.
At night I'll sleep for a couple of hours.. wake up.. then sleep for another couple of hours. If I don't get up and move around or take meds in between, the shoulders are quite sore in the AM...

I had this glue stuff on the incision ... it's getting close to coming off.. not sure how raw/what kind of shape the incision site will be.. is there anything I should apply to the site? Vitamin E??

 
Old 10-20-2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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Jay Bee HB User
Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Just a quick update - all is going as well as I could have hoped for.

9/20/08 was surgery... ACDF C5-6, donor bone, with plate and screws. I went back to work Monday 9/29 and that was a little too soon. For the remainder of that week, I mostly worked from home, about 6-8 hours a day. If I had it to do over again, I would have just taken two weeks off from work (and could have gotten paid on STD during week #2!! ugh!).

Week three I worked about half and half - home and work. That Tuesday actually worked about 16 hours (oops... but its just a desk job and I was on a roll!!).

On 10/16 (nearly 4 weeks after surgery), we took a couple of x-rays and talked with the neurosurgeon - all was looking good (but dang!! those screws sure look friggin huge). NS said I could stop wearing the soft collar I had been wearing and said I didn't need to see him anymore unless something went wrong... and sent me off with PT orders. I start this week. 5 weeks, 3x's a week.

I am at the office today, back in a shirt and tie. I actually still have a little bit of the glue-gunk I need to get off from the incision-- any easy hints/suggestions??). The incision looks good. I am still moving a little robotically when driving or looking side to side,... haven't taken any meds since about 10/10 (three weeks after surgery). Neither prescription nor over the counter. Sneezing, moving fast, or stubbing my toe can cause a little neck pain, but overall not much pain to speak of. When laying down or getting up from a laying down position, I sometimes hear ... 'crackling'. Sounds kinda nasty, but doesn't hurt or anything.. not overly concerned at this point - we'll see if it continues.

In hindsight, all the suggestions I saw on this board prior to surgery made sense. Good bendy straws are a must ... and take it as slow as you can. When first hearing about the ACDF procedure, it can freak some people out.. I am a 34 y/o male, but act like a little girl when it comes to needles/blood/doctors/etc... after this experience, I am exponentially more comfortable with surgery/medicine/etc..

Oh.. throat.. for the first week or so the voice was a little rough.. and there was some soreness.. nothing too bad. By week three I think my throat has been fine... eating, talking, etc.. all back to normal.

Sleep.. sucked for awhile. Still, I am waking up several times a night, but a quick readjustment does the trick... for the first week, I couldn't get much more than 2 hours of sleep in a row.. but, got past that as time went on.

I'll post an update sometime into the PT process (ultrasound, heat, massage, range of motion, strengthening, etc), but in the meantime if anyone has questions feel free to ask away.

 
Old 04-06-2010, 02:09 PM   #8
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Hi JayBee-

I had the same surgery 03/17/2010 and I am in my third week of recovery. I am wondering how you are doing now that it has been a year and a half after your surgery. Are you able to do all of the things you were doing before your injury and surgery? I noticed you are in your thirties too which is young for this surgery. I am feeling lazy and cannot wait to get back to my old self. I go back to work next week and I too have a desk job so I am hoping I won't have any issues. Did you have troubles sitting at your desk all day and working on a computer?
Any info is appreciated!
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C5/6 acdf and corpectomy with hardware on 03/17/2010

 
Old 04-06-2010, 02:39 PM   #9
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiplashed View Post
Hi JayBee-

I had the same surgery 03/17/2010 and I am in my third week of recovery. I am wondering how you are doing now that it has been a year and a half after your surgery. Are you able to do all of the things you were doing before your injury and surgery? I noticed you are in your thirties too which is young for this surgery. I am feeling lazy and cannot wait to get back to my old self. I go back to work next week and I too have a desk job so I am hoping I won't have any issues. Did you have troubles sitting at your desk all day and working on a computer?
Any info is appreciated!
Good luck with everything... for me, it went really well. I did PT for about 2.5 months, once or twice a week.. at first, it just was some massage and ultrasound, which was great.. then, they started making me to strecthes and weights, which wasn't as fun. By January, I started going to the gym and really using weight machines again,... just low weight, lots of reps.

I was a bit hesistant to try doing certain things, but that's due more to me mentally than how I've healed - I've felt essentially back to 'normal' for the past year... went out golfing a couple of times last year, and plan to get out more this year... I stayed away from softball last year, but would feel fine getting back into it this year.

For a few months, I would get up and walk around fairly often at the office to keep things loosened up, but now I'm really back to my old self (which is good from a recovery standpoint, but I sometimes am not as cognizant of my posture as I should be... ). My strength is good, range of motion good, no real complaints at this point. I do worry that I'll have another disc(s) give me troubles, but am hoping that won't happen for quite some time, if at all.

Like I mentioned, by January I was back at the gym and so for over a year I've felt good... but, over those first few months my back was a little weak and sometimes sore... now, what I have figured out is that the herniated disc was causing me serious pain for a long time. Before surgery, I had thought that severe knots in my back, neck and upper back soreness were just normal... I would beg people for backrubs contantly. Now, the thought never even crosses my mind.. the knots just aren't there anymore. The soreness hasn't come back.

All in all, it's gone as well as I could have hoped for. If anything, this summer I need to push myself to be even more active - last summer even though I felt good, the confidence wasn't up as much as it should be... now mentally I'm a lot more comfortable, and continue to be physically doing well.

Best of luck to you!

 
Old 04-09-2010, 07:42 PM   #10
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Thank you so much for the info!

I do feel like I am feeling and doing well compared to others' posts I have been reading. I have no pain from the incision or surgical area that I can tell and have not been taking any pain meds since 10 days after my surgery, but I am still taking Flexiril for muscle spasms. I can definitely tell that my muscles have relaxed since the surgery, and it sounds as if I had similar muscular symptoms as you. The last 5 years I had such tense muscles from the middle of my back to neck and shoulder and even pectorals, that now I think they do not know what to do with themselves! I will be happy not to have to ask my family members for gift certificates for massages this Christmas! I won't even know what to ask for!

I drove for the first time today because I had scheduled months ago to get a filling taken care of at my dentist, but to my surprise they told me they could not do it once I got there because of complications that could occur with my surgery. I had to reschedule for 2 months from now! So instead I went shopping for a couple of hours and now I feel completely exhausted! After being sedentary for over 3 weeks now and being pumped full of steroids for 2 months before my surgery I have gained over 20 pounds and cannot wait to get active again, so maybe mid-summer I can get back to the gym and do some light workouts. My doc says I won't need any PT so now I'm on the search to find exercises I am allowed to do at different time intervals...even if I can do something while laying in bed resting

I discovered my herniated disc after going to my doctor about terrible migraines I kept having over the past year. Fortunately it was discovered because it was pushed very far into my spinal canal and definitely was causing all my problems I have been having. Unfortunately this is the only thing that has not been resolved as I continue to have headaches and migraines, but I am scheduled for Xrays and an MRI next week to see if there are any visible issues still happening. If not it may be nerve damage and it appears neurologists are beginning to prescribe Lyrica for these type of nerve problems and they seem to be working for a lot of patients.

Well thank you again for the timeline you took to healing. I feel we are on the same track and I thank you for such a quick reply. You have been very helpful!
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C5/6 acdf and corpectomy with hardware on 03/17/2010

 
Old 04-10-2010, 09:01 AM   #11
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

I hope you don't mind my stepping into this conversation. I am just starting the research process on this surgery. My NS is suggesting that I consider this option. I too accidently found the stenosis because of an MRI just to make sure there were no problems. Ironically I have little or no pain and full rang of motion. The only symptoms I have is some slight numbness in my two index fingers and toes with some drop foot in my left foot.

I am finding it very hard to make a decision to undergo this surgery when I feel pretty good. I have seen other sites where people have described experiences that are not as positive as yours so I was glad to come across this site. You mention finding information that was helpful like using bendable straws. Can you tell me where I can find that information.

Any words of encouragement would be helpful.

thanks

 
Old 04-12-2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

I used the saran wrap for the first month or so after surgery, but you dont really have to do that. I am 2 months post op of the acdf, c5, c6, and it still feels like i swallowed a golf ball at times. My surgeon says it will pass. You sound like you are doing well, I was not that well, and spent 2 nights in the hospital. I hope you recover well. Estella

 
Old 04-15-2010, 09:26 AM   #13
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Begerong View Post
I hope you don't mind my stepping into this conversation. I am just starting the research process on this surgery. My NS is suggesting that I consider this option. I too accidently found the stenosis because of an MRI just to make sure there were no problems. Ironically I have little or no pain and full rang of motion. The only symptoms I have is some slight numbness in my two index fingers and toes with some drop foot in my left foot.

I am finding it very hard to make a decision to undergo this surgery when I feel pretty good. I have seen other sites where people have described experiences that are not as positive as yours so I was glad to come across this site. You mention finding information that was helpful like using bendable straws. Can you tell me where I can find that information.

Any words of encouragement would be helpful.

thanks
Hi Begerong,

The information as to what items you need after surgery are pinned at the top of each main discussion board page for Spinal Cord Disorder. Go back to the main discussion page and it will be the second discussion listed with a push pin icon next to it.

I was initially told I had stenosis from the radiologist report on my cervical Xrays, but after doing a cervical MRI that was not true and what was actually causing my vertebrae to appear as if I had stenosis was because of a disc herniation. The herniated disc was causing the thinning of the intervertebral space, not stenosis. Now that I have a bone graft it should eventually make the rest of my cervical spine realign to where they should be.

When you had the MRI done did you ask the technician for a copy of your images before you left their office. They can easily put the images on a disc for you. Some may have a small charge (I had to pay $5), but it is well worth it to be able to see the images yourself. If not, you can contact the office were you had it and ask to pick up a copy. You have every right to a copy of your images.

Luckily I have a brother-in-law who is a radiologist and I was able to mail him copies of all of my images and radiologist reports for a second opinion. He told me that most radiologist reports are over exaggerated for liability reasons (which I can understand) and most of what was in my Xray report was an over-exaggeration. He could tell clearly in my MRI images that was herniation and spinal cord compression, as could I. So, bottom line, get those images and see for yourself. You can easily tell just how bad it appears. If nothing is compressing your spinal cord I would NOT do the surgery. There is no magic surgery for stenosis.

Without more information I would have to tell you that because your symptoms are not painful and do not interrupt your everyday life I would also NOT have the surgery. Unfortunately I had to and it has changed my life for at least a year in just what I am physically able to do. I couldn't work for 4 weeks (it would have been longer but I have an office job), I cannot pick up my child or lift anything more than a gallon of milk, the only exercise available to me is walking...and none of this will change for at least 5 more months. Fusion of the vertebrae take anywhere from 6-12 months, so you are pretty much limited to anything you can do during that period of time.

What does your primary care or internal medicine doctor think about surgery? It would be wise to discuss it with your physician because they are more likely not to recommend surgery and offer you other options more likely than an NS would, like spinal decompression with a chiropractor. These surgeons are making a pretty penny off of your insurance company. My bills are still coming in and so far I am at $75k, so you can see how a surgeon might recommend this!

Hopefully I have been some help!
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C5/6 acdf and corpectomy with hardware on 03/17/2010

 
Old 04-15-2010, 06:59 PM   #14
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Re: ACDF c5/6 on 9/20/08 - Let's Hope My Story Turns Out Good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiplashed View Post
Hi Begerong,

The information as to what items you need after surgery are pinned at the top of each main discussion board page for Spinal Cord Disorder. Go back to the main discussion page and it will be the second discussion listed with a push pin icon next to it.

I was initially told I had stenosis from the radiologist report on my cervical Xrays, but after doing a cervical MRI that was not true and what was actually causing my vertebrae to appear as if I had stenosis was because of a disc herniation. The herniated disc was causing the thinning of the intervertebral space, not stenosis. Now that I have a bone graft it should eventually make the rest of my cervical spine realign to where they should be.

When you had the MRI done did you ask the technician for a copy of your images before you left their office. They can easily put the images on a disc for you. Some may have a small charge (I had to pay $5), but it is well worth it to be able to see the images yourself. If not, you can contact the office were you had it and ask to pick up a copy. You have every right to a copy of your images.

Luckily I have a brother-in-law who is a radiologist and I was able to mail him copies of all of my images and radiologist reports for a second opinion. He told me that most radiologist reports are over exaggerated for liability reasons (which I can understand) and most of what was in my Xray report was an over-exaggeration. He could tell clearly in my MRI images that was herniation and spinal cord compression, as could I. So, bottom line, get those images and see for yourself. You can easily tell just how bad it appears. If nothing is compressing your spinal cord I would NOT do the surgery. There is no magic surgery for stenosis.

Without more information I would have to tell you that because your symptoms are not painful and do not interrupt your everyday life I would also NOT have the surgery. Unfortunately I had to and it has changed my life for at least a year in just what I am physically able to do. I couldn't work for 4 weeks (it would have been longer but I have an office job), I cannot pick up my child or lift anything more than a gallon of milk, the only exercise available to me is walking...and none of this will change for at least 5 more months. Fusion of the vertebrae take anywhere from 6-12 months, so you are pretty much limited to anything you can do during that period of time.

What does your primary care or internal medicine doctor think about surgery? It would be wise to discuss it with your physician because they are more likely not to recommend surgery and offer you other options more likely than an NS would, like spinal decompression with a chiropractor. These surgeons are making a pretty penny off of your insurance company. My bills are still coming in and so far I am at $75k, so you can see how a surgeon might recommend this!

Hopefully I have been some help!

Thanks for your comments. I do have the MRI pictures and it clearly shows that the disc in compressing the spinal cord. I have been getting regular MRI's for the last two years to see if it progressed. Until now it did not seem to progress. Now it looks like there is more signaling come from the spinal cord indicating progressing change. I was considering an artificial disc replacement but the neurosurgeons feel I am not a good candidate because of some wear and tear of the joints of the spine (facets). They are suggesting an ACDF of C5/6.

It looks like I am going to have face reality and have the surgery.

 
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