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Old 01-16-2010, 05:50 PM   #1
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ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

Having surgery on 2-4-10 Having a bone graft and then a metal plate and pins, doc says no need for neck brace is that normal? Doctor says 1 night stay in hosiptal than can go home. Is that what I should expect,any info would help.This is the same nerosurgeron that did my L5-S1 fusion so I trust him.But anything can happen and thats what I would like to know about

 
Old 01-16-2010, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

Hi Jamie,

Im from PA aslo, and i will be having a ACDF of my C-5, C-6 in the near future, my neurosergeon told me i will stay in the hospital one night. He said possible about wearing the collar, but not in all cases. I am having mine done at Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Where are you having your's done at? Estella

 
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Old 01-17-2010, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

I had a C5-C7 ACDF in 2006. I did have an Aspen Brace for 6 weeks. Some doctors feel that a brace is not needed but my surgeon uses them just for extra support. I was so glad I had it as it prevented me from moving the wrong way. So perhaps go buy yourself a soft brace like you can get in major pharmacy chains and have it just in case.

Most ACDF are 1-2 nights in the hospital. Since my insurance had authorized 2 nights I asked for 2 and the surgeon agreed. Plus I did not sleep at all the first night. The hospital bed and IV meds are always more comfortable for me.

The actual surgery was not bad at all. They don't go through muscle so you don't get the kind of surgical incision pain that comes with procedures that go through muscles (i.e. abdominal surgeries, posterior spinal surgeries, hip replacement,etc. Many people have a sore throat for a day or so due to the esophagus being pushed aside during the surgery itself to allow access to the spine. Since you've had low back surgery you know that it's painful. Most of that is due to going through muscle in the posterior low back. So going into my ACDF I feared the level of pain I'd had with posterior lumbar fusion. I was SO happy to find that the pain was nearly nothing.

I was also given a bone growth stimulator that I wore around my neck for 4 hr a day for at least 8 weeks. It hangs around the neck, you don't feel anything, but it's creating electrical waves/field that aid in bone growth to aid fusion. I was also told, as most are, no NSAIDS for 3-6 months (aspirin, aleve/naproxin, advil/ibuprofen). I made sure I had good pain meds for when I was at home including a good muscle relaxer. Once you are fused your neck now has a different way of moving - although you may not feel it directly your muscles have to work differently to account for the area that is fused.

For the scar I used bio-oil and put 45 spf lotion or chapstick on the incision anytime I was out in the sun.

The one mistake I made is just sitting around for 6 weeks. When I went back to work at 7 weeks I was miserable. Not due to pain but I was so deconditioned. So the next time I had to have some neck surgery (2 yr later) I started walking at about day 10 post-op. I have a treadmill and did 5 minutes at a low speed. Then after a week of that I started adding 1 minute a day and one-half mph and one-half incline per week. So within a few weeks I could to 30 minutes at around 2mph and incline 3.
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 01-17-2010 at 06:46 PM.

 
Old 01-18-2010, 03:17 AM   #4
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

Hi SpineAZ
You unfortunately seem to have had a lot of experience but pehaps you can help me understand more about the risks I have to face as I am absolutely terrified. I put this message on another thread - can you help:

I would welome some advice. My MRI scan shows a large disc/osteophyte bar narrowing the spinal canal to just under 6 mm. At this level (i think C6/7) the spinal cord shows a focal abnomality indicating the effects of compression. The neurologist says this is what is causing my neurological symphoms (pain in both arms). He says surgery is the only option and has referred me to a neuro-surgeon. Does anyone know what the success rate of such surgery is - how likely is it that such surgery will result in paralysis?

Thanks in advance

 
Old 01-18-2010, 06:14 AM   #5
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

CES:

What type of procedure do you think they may reccomend or is that still to be determined? What symptoms are you experiencing?

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is usually very successful. In addition it produces minimal surgical pain as it doesn't involve going through muscle (whereas posterior spinal surgery has to disect through layers of muscle and this causes much of the post-surgical pain).

The tricky thing about these boards is most who have had successful spine surgery disappear from the boards after ecovery as they are no longer in need of support. Those of us who have had more spine (or other health) problems stick around here well after surgery.

With most any spine surgery one of the risks they must tell you about is the possibility of paralysis. What the actual % of each complication (paralysis, infection, etc) are hard to say. I suppose the data may somewhere in the literature of reviews of outcomes. Each type of surgery carries different risks and % of likelihood of each. For example, someone who broke their neck in an accident and has extensive vertebrae damage likely has a higher risk of something like paralysis as opposed to someone having a bone spur removed. Also, your personal health (current and history) plays into the likelihood and % of chance of certain infections. Someone with a weakened immune system has a higher risk of infection, etc.

I reccommend you get at least 2 opinons. Maybe 1 from a Neurosugeon and 1 from an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon. Back when I had my ACDF it was suggested both by a NS and OSS. I chose the OSS upon reccomendation from my primary care doctor (I really like and respect his opinion). My upcoming low back fusion will be done by an OSS as well. Getting 2 or more opinions will give you more information on what the surgical options are. And don't be surprised or worried if each gives you a few different options. You just have to take all the information they give you and decide which is best for you. For example, it's common for us to see people post here who have been told by one surgeon to do a microdiscectomy for a low back disc problem and another surgeon reccomends fusion. or one surgeon gives the person a few options and the patient has to pick for him/herself which they think might be best for them.
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 12-23-2010, 12:10 PM   #6
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

I'm 3 weeks away from a level 3 ACDF (C4-7). I have stenosis and it's starting to cause all those wonderful symptoms like numbness in my legs and spasms pretty much anywhere and everywhere from my neck down. I know this needs to be done, I accept that.

My Surgeon told me it was an overnight stay and I could be back to work in a month. His PA had told me to expect 2-5 day hospital, 3-6 months out of work recovering. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. Does anyone have an opinion on this? My spinal alignment is good. I have herniated discs, arthritis/bone spurs, DDD, all the normal ailments and complaints that I have read from everyone on this forum. I do IT work, but it's sort of physical, getting under desks, moving copiers, connecting equipment. I drive a company car, so during the day I need to stay away from any pain killer that clouds my head. I've found a combination of Lyrica and Tramadol that works very well for all the nerve pain. I'm really hoping I won't be out of work too long, but I also am determined to make sure I am truly HEALED before I return and cause myself an injury.

Does anyone have experience with a level 3 ACDF and the recovery from it?

 
Old 12-23-2010, 01:48 PM   #7
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

I only had ADCF at the c4-c5 level on 3-3-2010. Im still in pain, I lost the use of my left arm above the elbow although it is slowly making a painful recovery...I got on here looking for an answer but its like the surgeon told me everybody's different and nerves are tricky. Mine was cut and it has to "regrow." Nothing has taken away the pain but has masked it a little. I had same day surgery and I was in the drivethru at a fast food resturant 2 hours after waking up. The recovery pain wasnt bad at all but the lingering nerve damage pain and the weak uncordinated arm is really hard to deal with sometimes.

 
Old 12-23-2010, 01:54 PM   #8
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

When I was preparing to have my ACDF in 2008 on level C7-T1, I asked the NS what the chances were for me to end up worse and he said 3 %, and an 80 % chance of improving my symptoms. I had a lot of neurological symptoms due to spinal cord compression for over a year. I still have numbness and parasthesia in feet, legs, hands and arms, but my grip strength is much improved and I can walk much better than before surgery. My surgery stopped the progression of the damage.
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:06 PM   #9
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

I had a "desk" job and was back at work around 6 weeks post op. But this was with restrictions that I could not travel to meet customers, brokers, etc until month 3.

With a more physical description of getting under tables/desks and doing IT work in varying areas it could take you longer. If you are on STD from your employer it's important that both your surgeon and the STD people know your exact physical job requirements. When a surgeon tells you how long you'll be out of work he/she is speaking without knowing the details of your physical job requirements. The surgeon may think an IT person sits at a desk all day taking calls to change passwords, etc. So if you can get a good physical job description or create one yourself that realistically represents what you have to do in order to go back to work to your exact job. Also take into consideration if you can possibly return to work and no do the physical stuff for a while (if your employer would be open to this and if it's even viable)
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C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

@Shannon5467- Wow, I hope you get better soon.

I'm hoping this surgery will help me. I realize the likelihood of more surgery in the future is very high. The surgeon said he thought this would fix me for somewhere between 5 and 15 years.

I hope so!

 
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:27 PM   #11
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

I had C5-6-7 ACDF on 11-9-10. The neck brace is a security blanket for the first couple of weeks, but it's really not required. Between the friction of having the cadaver bones put in tightly with your neck in traction, and then released, and the plate, the whole assembly isn't going anywhere. I wore the neck brace for about two weeks, more because I wanted to than because I had to. I drove after two weeks, went back to work after two weeks, and at 10 weeks post op I feel great. All the pain and numbness are gone. The surgery is a little rough, but not that bad and compared to the pain you're probably already feeling, not really bad at all in terms of pain. Believe me, it is nothing you can't handle.

 
Old 01-19-2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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Wink Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

I had the same surgery on 12/9/2010. I was very nervous and did not know about this site until after my surgery. You were given very positive information from everyone before me.The surgery is not bad at all, you're asleep. I did have excessive swelling due to a reaction to the bone protein that was placed in the cage in place of the disk that was removed. Not many people have this reaction. I also had a plate and 6 screws. My best advice is follow the pain medication regimen for the first week or two. Do not let the pain get ahead of you. Plan ahead and stock up on certain items prior to the surgery: stool softener, soft foods, yogurt, ice cream, sherbert, mashed potatoes, soup, instant oatmeal, thin pasta, ensure, jello, pudding and a variety of drinks along with bendy straws. As soon as you feel up to walk around your house, up and sown stairs, Ask ahead of time if you are allowed to complete simple neck rotations and lift 2 pound weights. Good luck and keep us posted. I was living on pain meds for more than 6 months prior to surgery. By the 10 - 12 day after surgery I was off all meds except a muscle relaxer once in a while. Also ask surgeon for scripts to take home from the hospital: Pain meds, muscle relaxer and maybe something to help you sleep. I had my 6 week check today and wasn;t cleared to work The drive to and from work was probably too much along with teaching the whole day. Maybe next time.

 
Old 01-22-2011, 04:11 AM   #13
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

i had surgery 1/19/09 level 3 acdf w titanium plate and screws. Today is 3 days later 1/22/11.

I spent 1 night in the hospital, The Surgeon told my wife the surgery went well. I had lots of pain, not something I want to repeat. Yesterday the pain went down quite a bit

 
Old 01-23-2011, 08:14 AM   #14
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

My surgeon did not require me to wear any sort of collar, although he did tell me I might like a soft collar for comfort and support. I wore one the first day and a half home from hospital. It helped alot. Being able to relax those muscles and still keep your head upright was a blessing! I think the soft collar was a great suggestion by my surgeon. I still have a sore throat, and my neck still hurts from surgery. Not too bad though. Most of my "pinched nerve" pain is gone.

 
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:47 AM   #15
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Re: ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daner51 View Post
My surgeon did not require me to wear any sort of collar, although he did tell me I might like a soft collar for comfort and support. I wore one the first day and a half home from hospital. It helped alot. Being able to relax those muscles and still keep your head upright was a blessing! I think the soft collar was a great suggestion by my surgeon. I still have a sore throat, and my neck still hurts from surgery. Not too bad though. Most of my "pinched nerve" pain is gone.
Daner be very happy that most of your pinched nerve pain is gone. Hopefuly you will lose all of this pain and return to normal health. Recovery from the op is really quite straight forward and I was up and about quite quickly and returned to work within 3 months. If my arm pain had gone it would have been within 6 weeks to two months. The arm pain has been so severe I have quit work. I could not continue in a job requiring much key boarding. The use of a computer now is something I don't take for granted as it hurts to use it.

I had my op in March 2010. This week I was finally told that the nerve pain in my arms will never go. Following an MRI scan it clearly shows a white patch in the spinal cord adjacent to where the surgery has taken place to remove spinal compression. This is the damage and although they say it can take up to two years for nerves to grow back my surgeon said not to hold my breathe. Spinal cords don't regenerate. I don't know why they did not tell me this last year (as the white patch shows on the scan before the op) but they continue to maintain it was to protect my future as I had severe spinal compression and the prognosis was frightening if I had not had the surgery. It is good to know I have a future - at the pain clinic! My advice to anyone still waiting is get the op done quickly especially if you can see a white patch on your spinal cord - there may be a better chance of the symptoms not getting worse. I am not ungrateful for all the help I have had - just a bit low today.

Good luck. I feel very down this week and I feel I am too young to spend the rest of my life on drugs that make me drowsy and forgetful and which only just take the pain away.

Carol

 
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