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ACDF Friday the 20th

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Old 10-16-2006, 12:51 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Louisville, Kentucky USA
Posts: 87
ACDF Friday the 20th

Hello all
I will be going in for an acdf on Friday the 20th. The Doc's will be fusing C5-6 C6-7. I was just wondering what the recovery will be like. Will I have to be in the bed all the time like I had to with my Lumbar Fusion (L5-S1). Will I be able to sit in my recliner and watch T.V., or will I have to watch T.V. in my bed. I know I will have to walk so I can heal properly. My wife works and she can only take off so much. Will she have to be there all the time like she did with my Lumbar Fusion. I just wondered what some of you all went thru and how the results were. Thanks for all your input.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:34 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Re: ACDF Friday the 20th

Hi Tincan,

My ACDF surgery in the 23rd. I am wondering also what to expect. This is my first spinal surgery, and scared to death. I hope everthing goes well for you. Let us know how it went.


Old 10-17-2006, 06:59 PM   #3
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Re: ACDF Friday the 20th

I thought the cervical fusion (ACDF) was MUCH easier than the lumbar fusion. In 1993 I had an L4-S1 fusion with hardware and I vividly remember waking up in pain in the hospital and being in pain for an extended period, feeling I needed to be laying down, having a hard time getting up and down, etc.

THE GOOD NEWS is that the ACDF was a breeze comparatively. I woke up with very little pain (I was so scared going in remembering what the lumbar surgery was like). I did use the pain medication pump in the hosptial (stayed for 2 nights) and at home took narcotic pain meds about 2-3 times a day in the first two weeks, then down to 1-2x a day in the later weeks. My doctor requires an aspen collar be worn for 6 weeks after the ACDF - so that certainly was not comfortable and there was an occasional ache felt from the fusion (but again, not as bad as in the lumbar fusion I had) and I did have some muscle spasm in the neck which responded well to valium and flexeril.

I was able to do most self care at a few days post op (granted, the first shower was tough since I was dizzy which I don't think was due to the ACDF but just the anesthesia and pain meds). I had the surgery on a Thursday, came home Saturday, and my husband went back to work Monday. No need for him to be home with me at all. During the first 3 weeks I'd wait for him to get home after work before showering, and found that I would wash my hair every other day as it was more comfortable that way.

The big difference in an ACDF is they go through the front of your neck where there is far less muscle mass and tissue than in a posterior fusion or laminectomy of the lower back.

C5-C7 ACDF 5/2006 at age 39
L4-S1 fusion 5/1993 at age 26
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

Old 10-17-2006, 07:29 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 71
Re: ACDF Friday the 20th

Hey. Good luck Tincan

I'm 2 months post op ACDF 56, own bone. My recovery is going pretty good. You will find yourself searching for the least uncomfortable position to watch the boob tube. This was my main concern as well. I love sports. Nascar, IRL, Cart, Football, NHL, MLB ect... I got a hospital bed with the back and leg lift. I found curled up on my side, with pillows all around worked the best.

I felt good by the third week and really good by week 6. The past few weeks I went from a hard collar to a soft collar and started back at doing some house and yard work. This was silly as I have pain now I didn't have at 6 weeks. It is muscular, but it was avoidable by taking it easier. I went a liitle to hard lifting and I shouldn't have.

If you will be at home alone, get easy to heat food that does not take much lifting ect.. you'll be fine. just kick back and relax.

I just saw your post as well SSMITH1018. For me the hardest part was getting on the op table. I was really scared, but just started thinking about anything BUT what was about to happen. You are awake so fast after you go out, it is like time stood still. It is really not that bad when you awake. I just sorta slid into reality and thought "That wasn't so bad" and it's not. You'll be fine. Good luck

Good luck

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