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Old 04-26-2009, 12:18 PM   #1
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Average recovery time for acdf

Hi all,

I haven't posted in a while since i am unable to have my surgery until August 09. Well, at least I am hoping to hang on until August, Lately I have been having alot of tingling/numbness in my face, arms and legs. I also told my boss we may want to start training someone om my job just incase i need to go in earlier. and i was wondering what is the average recovery time for a acdf. They will be removing two discs i believe c6-7 -replacing them with cages and hardware. I haven't seen the nuerosurgeon since I explained that I can't have the surgery until August in which I go and see him in July. Sooner if things begin to become worse. My boss has been pretty cool and understanding throughout all of this so far and is knid of upset with the company also that they are making wait to have this taken care of. Oh, well I have bad days and then really bad days but am taking things day by day very carefully.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Liz

 
Old 04-27-2009, 12:09 AM   #2
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

Hi,

I was off for 6 weeks with the same level as you being done. I wanted, and felt able, to go back earlier but my consultant wouldn't let me. In retrospect I was very tired, and still am, when I did go back (3 days a week) so I am glad now I did follow his advice.

A lot will depend on how you feel, your consultant's advice and the type of job and hours you do.

Bobbyboo x
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Surgery: ACDF C6/7 5th February 2009 with plastic cage & BMP (No collar)

 
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:11 AM   #3
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

P.S. to my last post - I had one level done at C6/C7 - from re-reading your post you might be having two levels and the average recovery time might be different!

Bobbyboo x
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Surgery: ACDF C6/7 5th February 2009 with plastic cage & BMP (No collar)

 
Old 04-27-2009, 04:23 PM   #4
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

I had 3 levels done c-4 thur c-7 and my doc says 3 mo. I'm due to go back to work may 11th if I feel up to it. I still get sore. I think it is a posture thing. I did not have a curve in my neck for almost 20 years and now I do. Takes time to adjust... According to the physcal therapist... don't judge anything for 6 mo. post op.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:08 PM   #5
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

Harley:

Is your doctor not able to schedule it until then? Usually, unless it workers' comp related you and the doctor can pick the best day to schedule the surgery.

I was out of my desk job for 6 weeks. Total recovery (in terms of being fully fused) is 6-12 months in many cases. However, after the 6 week mark many people can become increasingly more active while making sure to listen to their own body (stop when it hurts, etc).
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 04-27-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

Spine,

The Dr. wanted me to get it as soon as possible due to the spinal cord compression. But I do not have enough fmla (family medical leave act - where you can take off up to 12 weeks per 12 months for serious health issues without losing your job) available at this time. Last year I had my gallbladder removed at the end of March and then at the end of June had to have my left ovary removed. Jan 09 I had two weeks off because I was in alot of pain, tingling, numbness and that is when they found the problems in my cervical spine area. and the way the company has their 12month calendar set up, It won't be until August when I have enough time available to have off without losing my job. Dr's not to happy about it but I need my job/health ins in order to have the surgery.

 
Old 04-28-2009, 01:20 PM   #7
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

Ahh, too bad. I have Short Term Dis (STD) through my employer and I may run out of FMLA but I'll have income from the STD. As it is I was likely to be laid off in July. Luckily I can go on my husband's medical insurance should I get laid off or be terminated once I run out of FMLA.
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 04-28-2009, 06:57 PM   #8
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

I also have short / long term disability that I pay for with the employer. Not sure how that would work if i was let go though. But the fmla is needed to keep my position. My fiance has the same health insurance as I do but i'm not sure that if we get married and i go on his insurance if they might consider this a pre-existing (??) condition and not cover it.

 
Old 04-28-2009, 09:56 PM   #9
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

This I can help you with.........

When you get married you have 31 days from the date you marry to go on his insurance to avoid the pre-existing exclusions. Certain "Life Events" allow you to add or remove dependents from your insurance and avoid any pre-existing exclusions or limitations.

If you are married - and loose your job and loose your insurance you again have 31 days from the end of your insurance to be enrolled on your husband's medical plan. So if you were to loose your job make sure (when you are married) that he adds you as soon as your health insurance ends.

So he can add you to his medical plan (as long as the plan covers spouses and families) and life insurance as well. He should be sure to ask "what coverages will I be eligible to add my spouse to when we get married".

The 31 day time line is strict so be timely.

Here's my problem - my husband has BC/BS and my spine doc is "in-network" for BC/BS but "out of network" for my insurance (UHC). So he costs me a ton more than if he were an in-network provider. But, I can't just be added to my husband's employer's plan now, if I were I'd be subject to pre-ex and my neck would be pre-ex - I would have had to have been added when he first enrolled (since we were already married when he started at his current employer).

So, if you have some medical stuff going on - and you never know what could happen with your surgery (i.e. causing you to be out longer than expected) - if you get married soon have your husband add you to his plan. If, after recovery, you are still employed and doing well and have medical insurance he can request that you be removed from his medical plan (which can save money). Often they'll ask for proof that you have other insruance but you can get that easily.

As for STD/LTD through your employer - make sure to apply. Most plans have a 7 day waiting period before benefits begin. Some are more like 15 or 30.

I went on STD today and have a 7 day waiting period. So my benefits (if approved) will begin May 5th. If I remain disabled, but run out of FMLA, I can still get my STD or LTD (again I must remain disabled) but wouldn't have the job protection.

I hope this helps....let me know if you have more questions.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 04-28-2009 at 09:56 PM.

 
Old 04-29-2009, 06:16 AM   #10
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

Not sure if this will help you out, but my surgeon did say it depends on the type of work you do. If your job is more of a desk type job then you may be able to resume work sooner. There are other things to factor in, such as how long you have had these injurys & how well your fusing & so on..I did not realize till PT how week my one side is.
I have more of a physical job & thats keeps me from returning to work as quickly as I would like. I did attempt to go back a couple of times due to an emergencies & both times it back fired. My PT explained it best, after a surgery such as this you have to slowly work your body back to where it needs to be. If you rush it your body will rebel. I understand as to have a job to return to also.
I am at the 5mnth mark & some areas I do feel better & some I dont. I can see where it can take your body up to 12mnths. good luck, Sammy

 
Old 04-29-2009, 06:36 PM   #11
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

Thanks Spine - We both are under UHC and my Dr's are in network plus actually his insurance is free because he has been employed with the company for so many years, I'm not positive but I think I would also be free on his. I pay partial on my insurance and the company pays the rest. As for the std/ltd that is something I pay for through the company but they don't pay any part of it, there is a 7 day waiting period but they do count Saturday and Sundays as a part of the 7 day period which is a good thing. We were not sure on his insurance considering me as being pre-ex even though it's the same and they would pay either way. so that is why we haven't made any movement forward as to getting married and me going on his ins.

Sammy - I do have a desk type job - but I do things that require alot of repetitive motion with my arms for at least 5 to 6 hours of my 8 hours - which I now do the last part of my day and step away from it for about 5 minutes or so every half hour - 45 minutes so I can make as close to 8 hours as possible day - also there is equipment - that if it breaks down I would need to go and repair it - which lately has been acting up alot and I would just love to blow it up cause after dealing with that throughout the day that by the time it's time to go home - I can't wait to get home to the heating pad and pain killer, Even the tech's that we call in to look at the equipment can't figure out why it's doing what it's doing and are ready to blow it up.

 
Old 04-30-2009, 03:39 AM   #12
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Re: Average recovery time for acdf

I was wondering if you know whether you will be in a collar & for how long? I am not sure about others but till this day if I keep my neck in one position for to long it aches & I am 5mnths post op. My shoulders will get really tight to. My PT said be careful of having the neck in any bent postion for to long such as at a desk or reading. According to her that is rough on the fused area & it can cause some pain. She reminded me that this type of surgery really has a long recovery & even when I am feeling good I need to remember that. Once my surgeon lifted my restrictions he said listen to your body & if you start to have pain slow it down. The thing is once you return to work you dont want to take off again. If at all possable I would return part time. If not perhaps give yourself another week or 2 if you can just to be on the safe side. Your surgeon should be able to tell you how well you are fusing & that may give you an indication of when your ready to return to work. Hopefully your fusion goes well & you will return to work when you want. It can be tough to try to predict how a recovery will go. Sammy

 
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