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 12-12-2010, 07:29 PM   #1
Junior Member
(male)
 
HaleandHearty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bergen County, NJ, USA
Posts: 17
HaleandHearty HB User
What is life like post ACDF surgery?

It appears there is no escaping the fact that Iíll need to have fusion surgery at C5 through C7 because I have degenerative disc disease with associated disc bulges, osteophyte complexes and (moderate & severe) foraminal stenosis.

Last summer, I had a consult with a surgeon of some renown. I sought out a consultation with him because I was hoping to have artificial disc replacement surgery, and in that way preserve range of motion. However, the doctor informed me that I was not a candidate because, in laymanís terms (the only kind I understand), my neck is too far gone.

The specialist recommended surgery either immediately, or at the latest, next summer, when Iím off from work again. He doubted that I would be able to delay the surgery much longer than that. His assessment is proving to be prescient. Since meeting with him, my symptoms, especially the radiculopathy, have worsened.

A lot of the questions I have had have already been answered simply by reading the various posts and responses on this message over the course of the past several months. However, I have a couple of questions that remain unanswered.

Once, Iím completely healed from surgery (however long that takes), will I be able to lift weights in a gym? Iíve allowed myself to get out of shape over the past few years, and I would like to start working out again.

Also, generally speaking, approximately what percentage of people post surgery have enough reduction in pain they are able to stop taking prescription pain medication? The prescription pain reliever I take daily, and as prescribed, offers me a daily respite of several hours from the arm/hand pain. However, I do not like the fact that refilling it necessitates an actual monthly visit to an MD. Therefore, Iíd like to discontinue its use as soon as possible following surgery.

The other thing that really bothers me about the prospect of surgery itself is that I have an extreme sensitivity to epinephrine. It sends my blood pressure skyrocketing. The surgeon assured me that the anesthesiologist will be able to counteract this, but I have some doubts.

Finally, I depend on my voice for my livelihood. The thought of surgery damaging it, or causing a swallowing disorder, as a possible complication of ACDF, seems too much to bear. Even though I'm a relatively young 48, Iím already contending with several other health conditions including Hairy Cell Leukemia from which Iím in remission. I donít want a new problem. Would it be appropriate to ask the doctor if he could do a posterior cervical discectomy and fusion? Also, when people say the recovery is more difficult from that procedure, what exactly does that mean?

Any and all thoughts, comments, suggestions, complaints, insights, advice and first hand experiences will be greatly appreciated. I can handle the good, the bad and the ugly without need for sugar coating. Thanks!

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 12-12-2010, 07:37 PM   #2
Facilitator
(female)
 
SpineAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 5,091
SpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

I had a C5-C7 ACDF in 2006. I had no adverse voice affects and the surgery was one of the easiest I've had (and I've had a variety of stuff done). The reason is that they aren't dissecting muscles to get to the spine, though they do move aside vessels and the wind pipe. I did need cepacol lozenges for about 48 hours for the sore throat and wore an aspen collar for 6 weeks. As for weights, etc, that's not something I would be able to address. You want to avoid excess stress on the spine after the surgery so proper body mechanics would be necessary.
__________________
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

 
The Following User Says Thank You to SpineAZ For This Useful Post:
HaleandHearty (12-14-2010)
Old 12-13-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
mim mim is offline
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
mim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 741
mim HB Usermim HB Usermim HB Usermim HB Usermim HB Usermim HB Usermim HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

I had ACDF C5-6 in Nov. 2007 and don't regret it at all. The pain relief compared to what it was is a lot. However, I do not have the singing voice I did as it is raspy, and I do have swallowing/gagging issues at times. I also developed arthritis throughout my neck and eventually spine. The DDD as I am sure you know is progressive and not cureable, so you need to keep that in mind when looking down the road. There is really no way to know if you will have similar events occur, but if you are concerned it will affect your voice then I would definitely ask about a posterior surgery. Good luck!!
__________________
Mim

 
The Following User Says Thank You to mim For This Useful Post:
HaleandHearty (12-14-2010)
Old 12-14-2010, 06:07 AM   #4
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 172
poopoopadoop HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

I had ACDF c5-6 in 2007 and have no voice problems. My surgeon let me start running and do other exercise 6 months post-surgery (but I never did weight lifting). I've lived a normal life - no pain meds. However, I did/do have some chronic back pain and just recently (see my other post) went for more MRI/tests. I have problems now at C6-7, C5-6, and C4-5. I don't think it was because I ran 2x/week. I think it just happened.
Lisa

 
The Following User Says Thank You to poopoopadoop For This Useful Post:
HaleandHearty (12-14-2010)
Old 12-14-2010, 07:32 AM   #5
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,897
Blog Entries: 12
jennybyc HB Userjennybyc HB Userjennybyc HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

My fusion was done from the back so I have no voice problems and you should discuss this option with your surgeon since you depend on your voice for your job. More painful as muscles are cut but in the long run, just as successful and no threat to your voice. We had a minister who sings as part of the liturgy, here, and he was offered the option. He took the ACDF for a speedier recovery and had no trouble but many here have. I'm surprised your doc didn't offer that option. Ask him. If he doesn't do it, then seek out someone who does.

You might want to find a doc who does "laminoplasties"......a re-building and re-shaping of the spinal canal from the back that accomplishes the same thing as an ACDF without fusion. Very new.

In PT, I did do some minor weight lifting to strengthen my shoulder and back muscles but I cannot speak to true weight lifting. I think it will depend on how bad the rest of your neck is....will you herniat more disks. Your doc can answer that question based on your MRI.

The epi used in surgery to control bleeding can be counteracted. I have hypertension and am extremely sensitive to epi as well but have had to have to twice recently due to anaphylactic allergic reactions and it was counter acted with beta blockers once the reaction was under control. They have drugs to control it so don't worry.

Sounds like you are in NJ(born in Orange). I know the neurosurgeons at NY- Presbyterian(Columbia) do laminoplasties but when I consulted with the docs at Hosp. for Special Surgery, they don't. Renowned does not mean up to the date with the latest procedures.

BTW, I am fused from C3 to T1. Dislocated 5 vertebrae and broke 3. Paralyzed on the left side and mixed on the right. Got over 95% back. I don't lift weights but I can lift my 35 pound granddaughter....much more important! Now that's a good surgeon!

Jenny

 
The Following User Says Thank You to jennybyc For This Useful Post:
RONCOT (09-26-2011)
Old 12-14-2010, 06:41 PM   #6
Junior Member
(male)
 
HaleandHearty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bergen County, NJ, USA
Posts: 17
HaleandHearty HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

Jenny,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful response and sharing your insights. Firstly you really put my mind at ease regarding the epinephrine used during surgery to control bleeding.

I like the distinction you make between a doctor who is renowned versus one who is up-to-date. What a great suggestion to check out what the neurosurgeons at NY- Presbyterian (Columbia) have to offer.

Since this is the only body and spine I will ever get, I would like to look into seeing if I'm a candidate for a different sort of procedure such as the laminoplasties you mention to relieve the pressure on the nerves caused by the foraminal stenosis at C6&C7.

Also, Columbia Presbyterian is closer to Bergen County, just across the river, which means family can more easily visit me. Also, a very close friend who is nurse lives right across the street, which will make it really easy for her to visit me.

I hate being a patient in any hospital, but I might actually feel more comfortable there, as I credit them with having saved my sister's life when she was a teen and doing an excellent revision surgery on a friend's hip.

You've really been through the mill with those fusions from C3 to T1, the dislocation of five vertebrae and having broken another three, along with the left side and mixed right paralysis. It must have been a very rough, long and terrible road that you have been down. I’m glad you have regained ninety-five percent. And the biggest prize of all I'd imagine is being able to carefully lift your thirty-five pound granddaughter.

Thanks again. Take care.

"Hale"
:-)

Last edited by HaleandHearty; 12-14-2010 at 06:46 PM.

 
Old 12-15-2010, 10:55 AM   #7
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 31
wrgil HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

My life post ACDF is awesome I had 5/6 and 6/7 done 2 1/2 months ago and I am virtually pain free.

I was living on narcotics that near the end didn't even begin to touch the pain. Four days home from the hospital and I bagged up all my medication (at least 5 different prescriptions) and returned them to the pharmacy for proper disposal. I was in so much pain prior to surgery that was all gone when I woke up that the pain from the actual surgery and incision seemed like nothing. You may want to discuss physical withdrawals with your surgeon or physician. When I got home from the hospital I had wicked withdrawals, sweats, fever, nausea, for two days but figured I felt lousy from the surgery anyway that I might as well get it all over with at once.

I have no issues with my voice. Just the usual hoarseness for a few weeks. Now I am back in full force yelling at my kids like nothing ever happened.

Good luck to you! This surgery can be very successful and offer you a pain-free life.

 
Old 12-15-2010, 05:17 PM   #8
Junior Member
(male)
 
HaleandHearty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bergen County, NJ, USA
Posts: 17
HaleandHearty HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

Wow thanks so much for that message of hope and encouragement!

You offer both a good plan and mindset to follow!

 
Old 08-19-2011, 08:22 AM   #9
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Posts: 1
ChelleMarie HB User
Thumbs down Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaleandHearty View Post
It appears there is no escaping the fact that Iíll need to have fusion surgery at C5 through C7 because I have degenerative disc disease with associated disc bulges, osteophyte complexes and (moderate & severe) foraminal stenosis.

Last summer, I had a consult with a surgeon of some renown. I sought out a consultation with him because I was hoping to have artificial disc replacement surgery, and in that way preserve range of motion. However, the doctor informed me that I was not a candidate because, in laymanís terms (the only kind I understand), my neck is too far gone.

The specialist recommended surgery either immediately, or at the latest, next summer, when Iím off from work again. He doubted that I would be able to delay the surgery much longer than that. His assessment is proving to be prescient. Since meeting with him, my symptoms, especially the radiculopathy, have worsened.

A lot of the questions I have had have already been answered simply by reading the various posts and responses on this message over the course of the past several months. However, I have a couple of questions that remain unanswered.

Once, Iím completely healed from surgery (however long that takes), will I be able to lift weights in a gym? Iíve allowed myself to get out of shape over the past few years, and I would like to start working out again.

Also, generally speaking, approximately what percentage of people post surgery have enough reduction in pain they are able to stop taking prescription pain medication? The prescription pain reliever I take daily, and as prescribed, offers me a daily respite of several hours from the arm/hand pain. However, I do not like the fact that refilling it necessitates an actual monthly visit to an MD. Therefore, Iíd like to discontinue its use as soon as possible following surgery.

The other thing that really bothers me about the prospect of surgery itself is that I have an extreme sensitivity to epinephrine. It sends my blood pressure skyrocketing. The surgeon assured me that the anesthesiologist will be able to counteract this, but I have some doubts.

Finally, I depend on my voice for my livelihood. The thought of surgery damaging it, or causing a swallowing disorder, as a possible complication of ACDF, seems too much to bear. Even though I'm a relatively young 48, Iím already contending with several other health conditions including Hairy Cell Leukemia from which Iím in remission. I donít want a new problem. Would it be appropriate to ask the doctor if he could do a posterior cervical discectomy and fusion? Also, when people say the recovery is more difficult from that procedure, what exactly does that mean?

Any and all thoughts, comments, suggestions, complaints, insights, advice and first hand experiences will be greatly appreciated. I can handle the good, the bad and the ugly without need for sugar coating. Thanks!
Hi, I hope that all goes well on your surgery. I have the same questions,
was injured 8 months ago at a major retail store where I was hit in the head
from falling merchandise from approx. 10-12 ft up on a top shelf. The object was made of airplane metal and left me looking like Rocky and having horrible neck pain/stiffness. After being treated at a horrible hospital that said I was ok and just gave me pain medication....I actually went through treatment of
chiropractor and massage therapy with no relief..I was sent for an MRI..which showed~ I have 2 herniated discs C5-C7, 2 bulging disc....the pain in my neck is horrible,numbness, heaviness and pain radiating down my right shoulder,arm and tingling in had. I am now under the care of an orthopedic spine specialist who is sending me for an EMG. I have had two Steroid Epidural Injections of which neither one did anything for me. I know that everyone says that surgery is the last thing you want to do, but I can't live like this anymore. I can't pick up my daughter, driving in the car with any little bump is painful, and after the second injection, I am having trouble swallowing any type of food with any rough consistancy....I feel it traveling very slowing down my throat and it feels like it just stops....and then my voice is very raspy. After sitting (I am a secretary)...I feel pain in my lower back and numbness, twitching in my right leg.

I am not afraid of having surgery...at this point I just want to see a light at the end of this horrible nightmare tunnel that I am in. My quality of life is horrible and just seems to keep getting worse.

Any suggestions
Thanks
Chelle

 
Old 08-26-2011, 02:23 AM   #10
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1,400
nochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB Usernochange HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

Before doing any surgery, you should consult at least with three doctors.
Do not go to any chiropractors to "fix" your neck. We were talking about it in this forum a lot.

 
Old 12-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #11
Junior Member
(male)
 
Daner51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Eaton Rapids, Mi
Posts: 13
Daner51 HB User
Re: What is life like post ACDF surgery?

I'm fused C4-C7 (surgery was Jan 2011). I had severe central canal stenosis caused by herniated discs and large osteophyte complexes, along with severe degenerative arthiritis and DDD, narrowing of some foramen, etc. Probably fairly typical stuff for anyone that is posting on this board! My surgery and hospital stay was good- one day. No aspen collar. No issues fusing. I do have raspy voice, and I continue to have difficulty swallowing, but I have found just slowing down when eating, chewing better, smaller sips, etc, really helps. It even helped me lose weight, so that was an unexpected plus! I was off work 6 months post surgery. I really struggled with arthritis and swelling, post surgery. I still struggle with it, despite taking massive (400mg x2 daily) doses of Celebrex. I'm now off work again, having problems with my C7-T1 disc (C8 nerve space). My arm pain is so much worse now, than I had prior to surgery, but the stenosis is gone! Spinal stenosis, in my experience, is one of those things the world would be much better, without! I take percocet, lyrica, celebrex, simvastatin, lisinopril and ranitidine, daily. I'd love to rid myself of the painkillers, but it's just not possible right now. I knew, when I had surgery, that they were leaving behind an unfixed issue with that C8 nerve space, because it had a prominent bulge and a small bone spur already growing, along with mild central canal stenosis. The idea behind not fusing it when I had surgery? I don't know that. Supposedly it was left because they don't like to fuse that C7-T1 junction, but seems like what I have going on now is as bad or worse than that. I'm not a doctor, and I do recall they call it the PRACTICE of Medicine, so I suppose they did what they thought was right. My surgeon told me, post surgery, that he had "fixed me up for 5 to 15 years". I sure hope so. I'm about to start a round of doctor appointments to get to the bottom of my arm pain. It appears it's from the C8 space, since it goes down into the pinkie finger on both hands. The thought of another surgery so soon on the heels of my first one is, quite frankly, a little depressing! If that's what I have to do, however, it's what I will do. I wouldn't worry about loss of mobility too much, for two reasons. First- You need to fix whatever is wrong. Once you've been diagnosed, holding off surgery is only delaying the inevitable, and opening up yourself for a larger amount of permanent nerve damage. Trust me, this is not something you want an excess of! Second- whatever range of motion you lose (7 degrees per disc is a fair guide), you've probably already lost a bunch from the issues you have that have you looking at acdf in the first place. Worrying about the loss of ROM...yes, I understand that thought, but you have so much bigger worries than that one, it's not worth thinking about. It took me a few months to learn those new limits, but once I did, it became second nature. In less than a year, I move and turn my head in sync with my new ROM and I'm not hampered.

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
ACDF C5/6 C6/7 what should expect? jamie07735 Spinal Cord Disorders 14 01-24-2011 12:47 AM
Acdf 5/6 - 1 week post op mosportsdad Spinal Cord Disorders 22 10-20-2010 07:50 PM
4.5 months Post-Op ACDF settingsons Spinal Cord Disorders 2 06-05-2007 01:48 PM
post ACDF and L'Hermitt's sign julie10 Spinal Cord Disorders 1 06-05-2007 10:58 AM
If I Knew Then What I Know Now cpmillerva Spinal Cord Disorders 42 10-18-2006 07:47 PM




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




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added








TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



WebDozer (269), jennybyc (197), Realhousewife (42), kenzibenzi (33), NJ Ldy (32), SpineAZ (31), frenchfri1003 (21), teteri66 (19), ladybud (19), feelbad (18)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1136), MSJayhawk (941), Apollo123 (856), janewhite1 (823), Titchou (771), Gabriel (743), ladybud (667), sammy64 (666), midwest1 (655), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:10 AM.



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