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Old 01-31-2010, 05:44 PM   #1
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Arrow New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Hi all, I love health boards and have been a longtime lurker for years. In this next week I am undergoing a 4/5 and 5/6 fusion surgery. Yes, I am full of anxiety but the pain I have endured so far is driving me to have this done. Also, I had a 2nd opinion with discogram confirming that these disks are bad and I have cord compression as well. I hurt on my left side of neck, shoulder, arm and into hand with numbness into hand as well. I have had disk problems for over 10 years but only in the past year has the pain become unbearable. I have an excellent neurosurgeon and he says that I will stay one night in hospital and go home the next day. Have never been operated on before either.The biggest fear is what it might do to my voice I was told I will most likely maybe have hoarseness problems. If this pain lets up just a little I will be so happy I have been taking lortab and percocet for the pain but even those don't relieve all the pain I would say maybe 60 percent on a good day

 
Old 02-01-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

bonniebell444, I too am facing ACDF soon. Had MRI, shows severe right foramin stenosis c-5 with moderate disc bulge. My right arm hurts almost all the time. Middle two fingers tingle, bicepts and tricepts muscles are sore. I have been taking Lortab (Hydrocodone) with no relief. Dr. gave me Neurontin last week in hopes of some relief with that. I have been taking Ibuprofen 800mg at least 4 times a day (I know, exceeding the recommended dosage) that seems to help as much as anything.
I'm full of anxiety after reading all the "poor outcome" posts here but I have to have some relief. I'm a sonographer and my right arm is my "right arm". I make a living by holding an Ultrasound transducer 8 hours a day. I wish you well and a speedy recovery. You may have already had your surgery by the time I post this. Let me know how you do. I haven't scheduled mine yet. Just changed employers about four months ago and don't know how I'm going to work the time off just yet.

 
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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Arrow Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppa John View Post
bonniebell444, I too am facing ACDF soon. Had MRI, shows severe right foramin stenosis c-5 with moderate disc bulge. My right arm hurts almost all the time. Middle two fingers tingle, bicepts and tricepts muscles are sore. I have been taking Lortab (Hydrocodone) with no relief. Dr. gave me Neurontin last week in hopes of some relief with that. I have been taking Ibuprofen 800mg at least 4 times a day (I know, exceeding the recommended dosage) that seems to help as much as anything.
I'm full of anxiety after reading all the "poor outcome" posts here but I have to have some relief. I'm a sonographer and my right arm is my "right arm". I make a living by holding an Ultrasound transducer 8 hours a day. I wish you well and a speedy recovery. You may have already had your surgery by the time I post this. Let me know how you do. I haven't scheduled mine yet. Just changed employers about four months ago and don't know how I'm going to work the time off just yet.
Hi poppa, Your situation does sound just like mine. Where your right arm hurts/ my left hurt all the time. The tricepts and bicept pain was unreal. What I have been on is lortab starting out on the 5's then going on to the 7.5 6 months later and when I had my surgery last week was on the 10's. The lortab did NOT take care of even half my pain boy do I know what you mean. Sometimes excedrin helped me as good as anything so you might try that and I know because I had tried them all by the time I went on prescription pain meds.
Ok, about my surgery- it went well but I had some trouble immediately after surgery with pain control. I still had much pain after getting the morphine shots but once they switched me over to the pills it got better. Felt like a lump in my throat but that is all but gone now. Throat is still a little sore but not really that bad. I am having right shoulder blade pain and some right arm pain as well. Told the neuro about that and he said that is to be expected that is the side he "went into" and moved everything around, and took disks out of, etc. From what I understand, give it around 4-6 months and this should be all but gone. I thought this surgery would not be a big deal but it was. I am 6 days post op and feel like I am gaining more strength with each passing day the down side is i cannot drive, lift, have to wear the collars, and this crappy shoulder blade pain. The heating pad helps SO much with that. I am on percocet and soma for the pain. I have to be careful not to overdo it as I wanted to plunge right on in and do my normal activities but I don't-- i stop myself.... Let me know what you decide. I had to get this surgery or any slight accident i might have had could have paralyzed me for life and I had a neuro as well as an orthopedic surgeon tell me this. Even though I have had these problems for many years, it still had not effected my legs or bowel/bladder yet and I'm glad I didn't wait, truly. Want to hear from you back here when you decide hon best wishes

 
Old 02-12-2010, 05:14 AM   #4
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Talking Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Bonnie, Thanks for the reply. I happy to hear that you are doing well post-op. The sore throat is to be expected considering all the poking and prodding around they do in that area during surgery, combined with the fixation devices they leave behind. Gonna be a problem at the airport now. (LOL) Really, you give me hope. I got a call back from my PCP and the absolute soonest I can get in to the Neurosurgeon is April 21. That seems like a lifetime away at this point.
I started having allergic symptoms with the Lortab so they switched me to Percocet and added Lyrica. I'm still hurting so bad by the end of the day. I did 14 ultrasound exams yesterday and had an hour drive home after that. I honestly think that I get as much pain relief with 800 mg of Ibuprofen as I do with all the real drugs.

Keep me posted on your progress. I'm really interested...... I will keep you in my prayers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bonniebell444 View Post
Hi poppa, Your situation does sound just like mine. Where your right arm hurts/ my left hurt all the time. The tricepts and bicept pain was unreal. What I have been on is lortab starting out on the 5's then going on to the 7.5 6 months later and when I had my surgery last week was on the 10's. The lortab did NOT take care of even half my pain boy do I know what you mean. Sometimes excedrin helped me as good as anything so you might try that and I know because I had tried them all by the time I went on prescription pain meds.
Ok, about my surgery- it went well but I had some trouble immediately after surgery with pain control. I still had much pain after getting the morphine shots but once they switched me over to the pills it got better. Felt like a lump in my throat but that is all but gone now. Throat is still a little sore but not really that bad. I am having right shoulder blade pain and some right arm pain as well. Told the neuro about that and he said that is to be expected that is the side he "went into" and moved everything around, and took disks out of, etc. From what I understand, give it around 4-6 months and this should be all but gone. I thought this surgery would not be a big deal but it was. I am 6 days post op and feel like I am gaining more strength with each passing day the down side is i cannot drive, lift, have to wear the collars, and this crappy shoulder blade pain. The heating pad helps SO much with that. I am on percocet and soma for the pain. I have to be careful not to overdo it as I wanted to plunge right on in and do my normal activities but I don't-- i stop myself.... Let me know what you decide. I had to get this surgery or any slight accident i might have had could have paralyzed me for life and I had a neuro as well as an orthopedic surgeon tell me this. Even though I have had these problems for many years, it still had not effected my legs or bowel/bladder yet and I'm glad I didn't wait, truly. Want to hear from you back here when you decide hon best wishes

 
Old 02-12-2010, 03:36 PM   #5
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

I dont want to scare you, but i had the c5, c6 fusion and the recovery, post op pain was very painful. I am 2 days post op, and taking percocet and flexeril, I will know in about 10 days whether this was worth it or not. The first 24 to 48 hours are not good, or were not good for me, but everyone I know is different,.. My shoulder and bicep pain seemed to have gone away, but I have pain in neck still and throat. GOOD LUCK! ESTELLA

 
Old 02-13-2010, 03:22 AM   #6
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Thanks Estella. I appreciate your report. If my shoulder and arm pain go away, it will be worth some post-op pain. I've had three hernia repairs, an appendectomy with a burst appendix and my gallbladder removed, I've had around 30 kidney stones. I can handle the post-op stuff. This pain in my shoulder and arm is the worst. I'm taking Percocet, Neuronton and Lyrica and the pain just won't go away. I take meds and go to sleep in pain and I wake up in pain.

I wish you well with your recovery. Will you also keep me posted on your progress? I'm anxious to see how you and Bonnie both do farther out post-op. Like I said in a previous post, I can't get in to see the Neurosurgeon until April 21. I guess those folks are really busy.

Last edited by Poppa John; 02-13-2010 at 07:14 PM. Reason: spelling error

 
Old 02-16-2010, 01:37 PM   #7
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Poppa i will surely keep you updated. I want to say this- i was very leery about this surgery as I found several people regretted having it done but I forged ahead and am really glad I did. the pain meds I was on prior to surgery I had to take 24/7 and IF they had taken away most of my pain I might have put off surgery but the pills did not take away the pain near enough and they were pretty strong. Now I can look forward to sitting longer periods of time, gardening, doing things that I would have never dreamed of doing had I not gotten this surgery. I am very pleased and I can only hope that it lasts take care hon

 
Old 02-17-2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Greetings! I wanted to share my C5/6/7 ACDF info. I too have not had any surgery in over 30 years (wisdom teeth out) when I was informed that I would need surgery. I had weakness in my right arm, and 2 numb fingers (which still are numb) and a nerve test showed ongoing deneveration. I stayed in the hospital only 15 hours and have no neck brace - just some titanium and 6 screws in my neck (yes, card carrying too for the airport!). Initially I was scared about the surgery, but then realized if I did nothing about it, I too would continue to live on Opana, Percoset, Lyrica, etc. Plus, the muscles in my arm were getting weaker and my typing was becoming affected. I'm 3 weeks after surgery (was cleared to drive after 1 week, but waited until 2), and back at work.

I know that having the surgery was the right decision for me - in spite of the risks (which are low in my opinion). I plan on "taking it easy" for a good 6 months - but it is nice to not be on pain meds!

Good luck to anyone who is considering having this done!

 
Old 02-18-2010, 09:00 PM   #9
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Quote:
I have been taking Ibuprofen 800mg at least 4 times a day (I know, exceeding the recommended dosage)
Hi Poppa,
I wanted to send you a private message but I think yours are turned off. You didn't ask my advice but I had to tell you about my ibuprofen problem. Like you I took 800 4 x a day. It finally caught up with me and I got a GI bleed. LOTS of blood in stool and around 2 weeks in bed plus scared the crap out of me, pun intended. Now I can't take any nsaids - wish I could. If I had it to do over again I would at least take my ibu. with tons of water and food. My two cents .

 
Old 02-19-2010, 01:57 PM   #10
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

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Originally Posted by bonniebell444 View Post
Poppa i will surely keep you updated. I want to say this- i was very leery about this surgery as I found several people regretted having it done but I forged ahead and am really glad I did. the pain meds I was on prior to surgery I had to take 24/7 and IF they had taken away most of my pain I might have put off surgery but the pills did not take away the pain near enough and they were pretty strong. Now I can look forward to sitting longer periods of time, gardening, doing things that I would have never dreamed of doing had I not gotten this surgery. I am very pleased and I can only hope that it lasts take care hon
Your situation is like mine. I am due to have surgery second week in March. I am permanently on drugs - neurontin I think you call it but we call it gabapentin. It really only dulls the pain. I don't know how some of you work. I first started with this last July and struggled through until the new year without taking time off - since then I have been exhausted - my arms - both are so painful it is agony to type or use them in that position for any length as is sitting for any length of time. I have now had 6 weeks off work and am now into absence monitoring but frankly I want to be rested for the op not stressed and washed out so I don't really care. I am worried about the pain but I can't live with the threat of paralysis and the continued pain in my arms. So lets get it over and done with

 
Old 02-20-2010, 02:21 AM   #11
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Quote:
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Your situation is like mine. I am due to have surgery second week in March. I am permanently on drugs - neurontin I think you call it but we call it gabapentin. It really only dulls the pain. I don't know how some of you work. I first started with this last July and struggled through until the new year without taking time off - since then I have been exhausted - my arms - both are so painful it is agony to type or use them in that position for any length as is sitting for any length of time. I have now had 6 weeks off work and am now into absence monitoring but frankly I want to be rested for the op not stressed and washed out so I don't really care. I am worried about the pain but I can't live with the threat of paralysis and the continued pain in my arms. So lets get it over and done with


Thanks for sharing you story. I understand what you are saying about the pain. Thank God I have gotten a little relief during the past week. I think it is a combination of Neurontin (Gabapentin) and Lyrica (Pregabalin). The painful areas in my arm are much better, the numbness and tingling are much improved. The pain is bearable at this level. I wish you well with your surgery and please keep us posted on your progress.

I know well the pain you describe while typing. Something about that position seems to really trigger the pain. My most painful position is performing an echocardiogram. I am a right-handed sonographer and due to the confines of a small sono exam room, can't move my machine around much. I must reach across the patient and twist my right arm and shoulder at a sharp angle while turning my head back to the left to see the monitor and use my left hand to operate the controls/keyboard of the U/S machine.

Has anyone on the list had any experience with the Synthes ProDisc-C disc replacement? I found some information while doing some research on ACDF surgery but would like to talk with someone who has had this procedure. I'm planning to ask the neurosurgeon about it when I go for surgery consult in April. It looks like a really fast recovery time and quick return to work. There isn't any bone graft and waiting for that to mend.

 
Old 02-20-2010, 04:29 AM   #12
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

ACDF, Matt and Ces

First off acdf- your situation is so like mine. How good to hear how your situation improved after your surgery!! Isn't it great? I'm only 2 weeks post surgery but let me tell you I am SO SO glad I went ahead. The pain pills were not even helping me for the past 2 months prior to surgery. I would take them, and 2 hrs later it was like I had taken nothing

matt I second your info on the ibuprofen it will surely tear up your stomach. I am glad I was only on lortab prior to my surgery but I took asprins- practically handfulls for years before that so it's a wonder i did not get a bleed.

ces- i too was put on gabapentin but didn't take it much,about the work comment-- you are SO right hon, I had to quit my part time job months before surgery because I simply could not do it anymore. Could not sit and type like im doing now. Being still I could not do- had to force myself to get up and walk because being still made my pain too excruciating. ces, I woke in recovery with my left arm pain free!!! I couldn't believe it- now as I've said, the right side was hurting from the surgical pain and still have a small bit of shoulder blade pain but it was so worth it!!

 
Old 02-20-2010, 04:45 AM   #13
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Thumbs up Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

2 week post-op report on me

A few days ago I went for my first post op appt with the neurosurgeon. He took off my bandages/ steri strips, my incision looks really good. Still much numbness in the jaw and neck but that will be gone in a month or so. He told me I can drive some now! Told me I could SOAK IN THE TUB !!! yeah lol
Lets see, he said that vitamins were ok to take now too. Just take it easy, try not to do TOO much. After my appt I went for neck xrays which the hospital was going to run over to him that same day. I go back too see him in a month.

Now here is my pain report: it seems that each day I have less pain. The pain I do have now which is NO longer severe, is shoulderblade pain on right side which was not the side that affected me prior to surgery. I already feel that I am going to soon need less pain meds too. This is the kicker folks-----and what I am so overjoyed about lately:
Prior to this surgery, if I had to SIT and type this to you I would have not been able to stay at my computer for 3-5 minutes without the arm/shoulder and neck pain just killing me Now, it's like I could go on and on typing!! This truly seems like a miracle to me and it's been so long since I could do something I wanted to do like sitting at my desk, sitting down and watching a movie without having to get up and reposition, etc that I just am ecstatic I am so grateful now that I went ahead and didn't put off this surgery. Before surgery I expressed my worries to the doc about the fact I read that so many people that had this surgery had pain the same or worse so what is the use in getting it? He told me if you do what I say for you to do, this will help your pain. Well, so far he has proven to be right on target. No more worries that the slightest slip or fall or petty accident will cause paralysis, no more excruciating pain. Now I no longer have to schedule my day around the pain..I do realize that sometimes things do go wrong with these fusions but I'm going to try with everything in me to do what he says, not to push it, etc. My most important advice to everyone out there considering this surgery? DO YOUR HOMEWORK on the surgeon beforehand! I mean to go on the internet and do a search on them, you can find reviews of them on the net... that is exactly what I did. Also, I had family and friends who knew this neurosurgeon and his reputation is very good. More updates to come

 
Old 02-20-2010, 10:06 AM   #14
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

Hi Bonnie..So glad to hear your recovery process is going well!! I totally agree about your advice of researching about not only the surgery..but your surgeon as well..

It is scary to hear the good/bad/ugly about these types of surgeries..as I have had 3 myself...I could have skipped awful surgery number 2 if I had more time since I absolutely adore my Neurosurgeon who did the last one on me..

It's so important to follow their advice...being a non-smoker helps tremendously as well and do the PT and conditioning (when advised by Dr.) to heal..

I truly hope that you are one of the lucky one's that can have little to no pain after your surgery!

Also..a quick note..I have the exact same pain at my right shoulder blade..way before my surgeries too...quite annoying!..LOL..

Again...thanks for a good report

 
Old 02-28-2010, 12:22 PM   #15
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Re: New here: c4/5 & 5/6 ACDF coming up soon

All,

I had C4 to C7 fusion about 10 months ago. No post op voice or throat problems and pain was immediately gone. I tried all oral meds and have found the only relief for this pain is Fentynal patch along with oral Soma and Darvocet.
Note, this surgery was not a success for me. Not to scare anybody, but please take care of yourselves and insist on good follow up. I just had a CAT scan 10 months post op due to return of symptoms and I am back at square one. Options, more surgery, that may or may not work, SS disability and the high risk of paralysis.
I will take my chances at this point since I did not recover from the first surgery.
Please be sure your Neurosurgeon gave you all the facts, recovery time from cervical fusion is 1 yr and not 3 to 6 months.

 
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