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  • ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

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    Old 09-27-2006, 07:57 AM   #1
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    kgwoz HB User
    Question ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

    Hi everyone,

    I am a 28 yo female who had an ACDF C5-6 (donor bone and titanium plate) performed on 9/14 and seem to be doing well. I have to wear a soft collar for a couple more days.

    Still in some pain (mainly in my shoulders and back of neck). It seems like the muscles get all tensed up, and feels like my neck is "weak" when I move my head in certain directions (mainly backwards). Is this all normal? I only take a Percocet at night right now, and Tylenols throughout the day to manage the pain. The pain, tingling and numbness I had in my right arm/hand seems to be gone, which is wonderful!

    My surgeon said 6 weeks before going back to work and driving. Is this the typical course for most people?

    Also, what have people used to reduce the scar on their necks as much as possible? My incision was closed with absorbable stitches below and Dermabond on the skin. I have heard that Mederma is supposed to be great, or those Neosporin Silicone sheets.


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    Old 09-27-2006, 08:50 AM   #2
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    dennisgb HB User
    Re: ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

    Yep, all of your symptoms are normal.

    The muscles in the shoulders and the back of the neck will spasm after this surgery. Try alternating hot and cold about 10 to 15 minutes each. Also muscle rubs and massage can help. Try to pinpoint where the pain is coming from (rub the muscles), and then place hot and cold there.

    Try to be watchful of your positions when sitting, lying and sleeping. Get good support under your neck. Contour Foam pillows work good for this. You can get them at your local drug store. I used two of them, and like them so much I still use them 2 years later.

    6 weeks is about normal to go back to work. You will know when you feel up to it. Yo may only want to work half days the first week, if you can. Your body won't be quite ready for full days.

    I used vitamin e and aloe lotions and Bag Balm to reduce scar. Can't hardly see it anymore. My doc put it right in a wrinkle on my neck


    Old 09-27-2006, 01:19 PM   #3
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    NYD HB User
    Re: ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery


    We went in on the same day, Aug 14th. I had C5/C6 own bone. I feel great. Same tension as you. I wear a Philly collar and soft collar. If I use the soft collar during the day I get the stiff feeling in neck, upper back and shoulders.

    I take a lethal dose (for most people) of Oxycontin each day. I suffered for 7 years with increadable pain. It was only in 2005 that they figured out it was spinal compression and nerve root issues. I am now starting to ween off this crap. It started with only a few perc's and snowballed from there. Be carefull with that stuff.

    BTW> my scar is hard to see, even at 6 weeks and 14 metal staples!! The NS was very very good.

    good luck.


    Old 09-27-2006, 07:31 PM   #4
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    Re: ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

    I am 40 and had a C5-C7 fusion on 5/18 (when I was still 39) and my doctor required an aspen collar for 6 weeks. I didn't drive for 6 weeks and remained out of work (desk job) for 6 weeks also. For the scar I've used curad silicone sheets. Personally I had a slight allergic reaction to mederma - it is made of plant botanicals and I have hay fever type allergies - so it makes sense. No serious reaction, just itching so I ceased using it at that point and went to the curad silicone sheets.

    To be honest I first felt 'normal' and relative pain free at 4 months post-op. It was later than I thought but it was a huge relief! I still have occasional pain and soreness but something just seemed to improve at 4 mo.

    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Last edited by SpineAZ; 09-27-2006 at 07:32 PM.

    Old 09-28-2006, 05:38 PM   #5
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    looneybin HB User
    Re: ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

    [removed] I have the opportunity to talk to all kinds of Drs and a dermatologist told me that there really was not need to put any special kind of ointment on the incision but if I really wanted to put something on, triple antibiotic ointment is what he would suggest. The one point he couldn't stress enough was to keep the incision/scar out of the sun for a long time. It was probably at least 9 months before my neck got any sun and I can tell you that no one believes that I had surgery until I point out the scar and then they all say "Wow, you can hardly see that!"
    Best of luck to you!

    Last edited by HBMod07; 09-28-2006 at 06:02 PM.

    Old 09-30-2006, 06:31 AM   #6
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    kgwoz HB User
    Re: ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

    Thanks everyone for your reassurance and suggestions. The tightness in my neck and shoulders is slowly decreasing each day. It stills feels "weak" when I move my neck backwards, but as I strengthen my muscles, I'm sure that will go away. Now, to take care of this scar.

    Old 10-14-2006, 11:06 PM   #7
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    lwaldorf HB User
    Re: ACDF (C5-6) on 9/14 - Questions on Recovery

    Hi, use Mederma twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. i did and the scar is hardly noticeable. i had an ACDF as well. good luck, larry

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