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ACDF recovery time

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Old 12-15-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: MI
Posts: 7
milyno HB User
Question ACDF recovery time

Hi board!
After a slip and fall on 2/10/06, I had ACDF C5-C7 surgery on 11/16/06. I must say I am feeling pretty good, mostly aches and stiffness but very little pain. I go back to the surgeon on 12/20 for my first ost-op. When we first discussed the surgery, he said recovery time would be 8-12 weeks. Of course after surgey I have spent alot of time on the internet researching post-op recovery. I am getting a little nervous because on alot of sites I have seen some recovery times as long as 6-12 months. My job is very physical and I haven't worked since Feb. Is there anyone out there with a physically demanding job who has had this surgery, and what was their return to work time after the surgery. Thanks!

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Old 12-15-2006, 03:25 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 71
Re: ACDF recovery time

We will need more info like was the ACDF done with own bone or Donor ect?? Did you have hardware ie: Plate and Screws? Are you in a Hard Collar?

It can take 2 months for the fusion to start and take. Mine took at 1 month and was quite good by three months. At 6 months I will be allowed to ski again. I used my own bone, no hardware and Hard Collar for 2 months.

Some folks claim a full year for fusion maturity. my NS said it won't get much stronger than at 6months (in my case) again I had a rapid fusion due to my own bone and a flawless surgery.

If you have a tough active job, I would think it would be at least 3 months min... a year max if the fusion takes.

Good Luck

Old 12-15-2006, 07:29 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: MI
Posts: 7
milyno HB User
Re: ACDF recovery time

Thanks NYD. I have seen people going back to work in 2 weeks to people who are not working a year+ after surgery. Little bit frightening, but I understand that different people doing different jobs will have different recovery time. I did have donor bone with plate and screws and I am still wearing a hard collar. I suppose only time will tell!

Old 12-16-2006, 05:36 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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whackedback HB Userwhackedback HB Userwhackedback HB User
Re: ACDF recovery time


I had a 3 leve ACDF a few years ago. Donor bone and plates and screws. I luckily have an office job. Based on your statement that you have a physical job, I'd definitely confer with your surgeon, and definitely ask the Surgeon to put you in PT so you can learn your strengths and weaknesses.


Old 12-16-2006, 05:47 PM   #5
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Re: ACDF recovery time

I had my C4-5 ACDF 1 day before you, Milyno. I have a job where I stand for 12 hour shifts: no stool, no chair, no breaks except to use the ladies room and a 20 minute lunch. I'm considered professional personnel and so labor laws that require breaks and such don't cover me. My doctor took me out of work until January 22, and then he said I'll go back at first to just 4 hour shifts. When those are going well he'll work me up to 8 hour shifts, and when those are going well I'll go back to the 12 hour shifts. Just keep being honest with your doctor about your concerns about your job and also the demands of your job. Many employers have official job decriptions that will spell out what the physical demands expected of the job are, such as how much you are expected to lift, stand on your feet, etc. If you have something like that it may be helpful to share that with your doctor and probably your physical therapist too.
Good Luck!

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