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  • Neck Scars, Anyone???

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    Old 01-15-2006, 09:21 PM   #1
    JackieH
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    Cool Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Hello Again...

    I realize this is the most minor of the issues we cervical spine sufferers have to deal with. So forgive me if this sounds at all trivial.
    I'm going in for my double ACDF surgery on the 30th & since I live in Canada...I don't get to go back to my surgeon to ask questions b4 the surgery. (You just get the 1st meeting where he looks at your MRI, does a short neuro. exam & tells you if he will do surgery to help you or not.Too few docs. too many on long wait lists is why.)
    So I'll only see him just b4 rolling into the O.R.

    Question....

    Do they always cut in a natural (middle-aged natural,) crease in your neck? Either way...how bad does the scar look & how long does it look really bad?

    'Hope I don't sound too vain. I'm just a girl who likes to look presentable. :-)

    Thanks in advance for sharing your "SCAR-y" stories with me. ha ha.

    Yours Truly,
    Jackie H.

     
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    Old 01-16-2006, 09:01 AM   #2
    whackedback
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Cutting in a natural fold on your neck is something you should ask the surgeon to do. My ACDF is 4 years old, and I have to really look to see the scar since my surgeon cut in the fold.

    I also used Vitamin E creme and Mederma to help the scar fade after the incision had healed. I was told that some people will cut open Vitamin E gel capsules and apply the liquid to their scars.

    wb

     
    Old 01-16-2006, 10:13 AM   #3
    IngyW68
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Hey there,

    I too wondered what my scar would look like so don't think your vain... It's a natural question.

    Sorry that you have to have this surgery but I hope it really helps your pain.

    I just had my second cervical surgery (one level didn't fuse so they had to fuse again) and the first one was in 2001 (double ACDF) and you can barely see the scar at all unless I point it out since I have a few lines there naturally (37 yrs old) I call them laugh lines too

    The second surgery was done on Dec. 12th 2005 and the scar is fading fast already. I put Nivea, night cream on it but NOT until after the first few weeks of healing since it needs to close up. The other suggestions are great too for vitamin E, scar therapy, etc. So, I wouldn't worry too much about the scar since it should fade quickly. I will hope and pray that you heal quickly on the inside too and it takes care of all your problems

    Hugs,
    Ingy

     
    Old 01-16-2006, 11:11 AM   #4
    dootag
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Hi IngyW,

    Good question. I have two scars, vert. for the first surgery and horiz. for the second. The surgeries were done 16 and 15 years ago respectively. The vert is next to impossible to see since it is parallel to a cord that is prominent. The horiz. scar (they form a tilted X) is like two white marks, slightly offset. Since I tend to be a bit of a redneck from outdoor activities they are simply two white spots.

    dootag

    Last edited by dootag; 01-16-2006 at 11:12 AM.

     
    Old 01-16-2006, 07:21 PM   #5
    BobM
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    I've had two ACDF surgeries in the past two years. The scars are noticeable, but not disfiguring or anything.

    My surgeon uses a product call 'Derma Bond' to close up the top layer incisions, which kind of glues the skin together instead of using sutures. I think this avoids some of the scarring, plus you don't have to go back in 7 to 10 days to get the stitches removed. You might ask your Dr. if this is an option, especially if you are concerned about visible scars.

     
    Old 01-16-2006, 08:31 PM   #6
    JackieH
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Thanks to all of you who have responded!

    I feel better. And Bob, I put that on my list of questions to ask the doc right b4. Thank you.

    Hold your heads up high.

    JackieH

     
    Old 01-16-2006, 09:56 PM   #7
    BobM
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Another thought to help you get prepared. In my case, when the bandages were removed a couple of days post-op, I was not prepared for how my neck looked, and it didn't help to see the reaction from family and friends. Right after surgery, each of my incisions measured 4 or 5 inches long, but a lot of that was due to swelling. After a couple of months, when things have healed up, each incision is only about 2 inches or so. I just mention this becuase you don't need unnecessary worries right after surgery, and nobody gave me any advance warning on what to expect. Not that it's all that bad, but I've noticed that things look a lot worse to me when they're on my own neck. My experience has been very positive, even with two surgeries, and I would not hesitate to do them over, my improvements are dramatic. Good luck.

     
    Old 01-17-2006, 07:23 AM   #8
    feelbad
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    just what kind of a surgery did you have there bob?this doesn't sound like the normal one about two inch long horizontal type of scar you normally see with just a one level fusion.just a wonderin.i had the horizontal thing it is rather small but I had to have a hardware placement done 9 mo after the original one because of a non fusion but he went in and recut that same area he had used before and it still is pretty un noticable.I DID however do the vitamin E thing.i just popped a pin into the cap and sqeezed out a bit a couple times a day and rubbed it into the scar.Now the scar on my upper back and neck from the spinal cord surgery which also involved a trilevel lami just to get down to the actual cod,well,thats a whole different story and looks rather grizzley,but part of that is also due to the loss of the boney prominences over those three vertebrae.luckily I have really long hair so the area is pretty much covered in the summer.

    but quite honestly,any scarring from the anterior fusion should be minimal at best.My surgeon looked for a natural fold to actually cut into so really,it is hardly even noticable now a few years later.despite being cut into twice.i wouldn't worry about it,really.you will probably not even be able to see it after like 6 months unless you really look for it.good luck on the up comming surgery.Marcia
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    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 01-17-2006, 08:01 PM   #9
    BobM
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    I want to be careful to not hijack Jackie's thread....

    I had an accident 14 years ago, and a neck injury that went undiagnosed until 2003, at which time I had lost most of the use of my left shoulder, arm, and hand, and intense pain. An MRI showed disc damage at C4/5/6/7/T1. C5/6/7 were the worst with compression on both the nerve roots and spinal cord, so I had ACDF with donor bone and a plate. Tremendous relief from pain and I got my arm back. Then a year later, the pain returned and I ended up with another ACDF to add C4 to the earlier stack. The 1st plate was removed, and another installed at C4., with the scars an inch or so apart. The C7/T1 injury still has not been repaired and is not causing too much problem, but I'm being really careful now.

    After each surgery, my neck would swell, and the incisions would measure about 5 inches. Today, they measure about 2 inches. My scars look red and are visible, but I think that's just the way my skin heals. The Derma Bond avoids the 'cross hatch' appearance that sometimes results from regular stitches, so I thought that was worth mentioning to Jackie. Also, it's best not to worry about how it looks right after the operation, it gets better with time - maybe a whole lot better based on what others are reporting.

    I'm curious if my experience is different from what other people have experienced?

     
    Old 01-18-2006, 12:22 AM   #10
    JackieH
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    Re: Neck Scars, Anyone???

    Thanks Marcia & Bob,

    knowledge is comforting & there's no knowledge like the kind that comes from experience. Thank you for sharing yours.

    Bob...you can hijack all you like.

    Jackie

     
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