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Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

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Old 02-16-2005, 10:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 19
jeanniebug HB User
Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

Well, my surgery date is getting closer by the minute and I can't stay off the darned internet. (I'm having cervical fusion with plates/screws on C5/C6 and C6/C7 on Feb. 22). Today I read way too much on how cervical fusion surgery can cause swallowing problems and even problems talking. I am really starting to panic now and I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing in having the surgery. My pain levels are not so bad that I can't live with them. The only reason I'm even thinking about the surgery is because I have spinal cord compression. I'm seriously considering just cancelling the whole thing!

Please, can those of you who have had the surgery tell me your experiences with the sore throat, swallowing or voice after surgery?

I need to hear! Thanks.

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Old 02-16-2005, 11:51 AM   #2
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

My husband had a sore throat for a few days. He was told that it could last up to six weeks. He also had a problem talking the first day, but not much after that.

He is very happy with his fusion except that when he bends down, he can't breath. That is from the scar tissue.

As for swallowing, there will be some swelling. If it is from the swelling from surgery, then it will go away. If it is scar tissue, then that is bad.

We did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people before the surgery and all of them came out okay and were happy with the results.

Surgery is an individual decision. I will say that all of the specialists told us that it is way better than lower back surgery.

Hope that you find some peace and comfort in all of this

Old 02-16-2005, 12:07 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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chitowngl HB User
Re: Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

I had a one level fusion in early January. I had a sore throat for about a week-but nothing that some chloraseptic spray couldn't help. The swallowing issue is a little tougher. I was on a very soft diet for about 3 weeks (mostly yogurt, soup etc..). But also remember that everyone is different. I was very glad to have the surgery done to relieve my symptoms and would do it again.

Old 02-16-2005, 01:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: usa
Posts: 2,943
mel1977 HB User
Re: Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

is a posterior approach an option for you? I have cervical issues that I have been told surgery can not fix, not that that upsets me, surgery through my neck scares me too and it isn't even an option at this time. I completely understand your worries. I was desperate almost for my back surgery, but man, stay away from my neck! Well, atleast for now. My problems haven't gotten better in over six months and that is one thing that can warrant surgery if it could be an option. Oh well.
ANYWAY-With any concerns you have, talk to your surgeon. He or she may do this enough to be able to give you honest answers about previous patients. Beset wishes!

Old 02-17-2005, 05:53 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 1,197
PNo HB User
Re: Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

jeanniebug, I have a two level acdf 4-6, i didn't have a sore throat. I did have swallowing problems, but they were nothing like the pain before surgery! First week I had to go with soft food, and a gulp of liquid with every bite, pills would stick but go down. Week two it improved, by week three it was very minimal and now week 7 the benefit of improvement is far outweighed by the nusance of temporary swallowing problems. Good luck!

Old 02-18-2005, 09:47 AM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 19
jeanniebug HB User
Re: Swallowing Problems after Cervical Fusion?

Thank you all for your replies. I just wish I could get over this fear of surgery and the outcome! I worry about anesthesia, getting sick afterwards, will I be better or worse off afterward, etc. I'm sure you all experienced the same feelings. I'm so happy that some of you had fantastic outcomes. I love hearing those! It's those bad ones that stick in my mind tho. I just talked to a woman on another board who had the surgery 2 weeks ago and is in a lot of pain and wishing she never would have done it. I feel so bad for her. So...any other GOOD things you can tell me would sure be appreciated!

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