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Payton02 03-01-2007 03:06 PM

ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
I had surgery yesterday afternoon. I'm only having moderate pain. Mostly a soar throat which makes it difficult to eat. I was discharged early this morning due to blizzard warnings in our area. I didn't want to be stranded in a hotel all weekend. The ride home was a bit scary due to snow and ice.

I am to wear a soft collar at all times except when I sleep and shower. Doc said that I should plan on wearing it for three weeks. I was given meds for pain and muscle spasms. I currently do not have any spasms. Is that something that is in store for me? Should I take the medication even if I don't currently have them? Also, I've read alot of posts on this board that state that we should not take ibuprofen, however, I was given a prescription to take it three times per day.

I was pretty much pain-free before sugery. My symptoms were mostly pressure and weakness in the left arm and nubness in the fingers. I can already tell a difference there.

I also have a herniated disc at c5/6 but it was recommended that I only fuse the area that was causing the symptoms. She did state that there was a good chance that this area would require something in the future since more stress will be applied to that level now.

This forum has provided such insight into this procedure, and I was thankful to read all of your posts prior to having surgery. I felt like I knew what to expect. Thanks to you all for sharing your stories. :wave:

OhioGolfer 03-01-2007 03:34 PM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
Glad you made it through OK. I found that the spasms really started about 48 - 72 hours after surgery, but everybody has a different experience, and some never have really bad spasms. Mine have subsided in the last few days, and I am 21 days post-op. However, I also had 2 levels done. I would be careful with the ibuprofen -- why risk it if you don't have to?

My NS took the opposite approach to yours. My C5-C6 disc was worse than my C4-C5, although I had more spurring at C4/5. He opted to fuse both, figuring that it would minimize my chances for needing further surgery.

There are tons of different approaches the doctors take with this procedure. Some use collars, some don't - some strictly limit driving and such for 6 weeks, others say OK after 2 or 3. GO figure!


smiley94 03-01-2007 05:40 PM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
:wave: Good luck with your recovery! I am 7 wks post-op ACDF C5-C6. I was told no Ibuprofen because it delays bone healing. So it's amazing how all the doctors are all different. Do you see a neurosurgeon or ortho? Everyone's recovery also seems to be different. I am a nurse so it will be quite awhile until I can go back to work. So to me it seems like a slow recovery but I am doing well. It's just hard not being able to do what I am used to doing. Take care.:angel:

Payton02 03-01-2007 07:11 PM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
My doctor is a neurosurgeon. I assume the ibuprofen is for inflammation. If I don't take it, is there something else I can substitue for it? I was really expecting to feel much worse today than I feel. I am taking hydrocordone for pain and something else for spasms. I figure I may as well take the spasm meds just in case. My post-op appointment is set up for the end of March. I'm hoping to be released to go back to work then. I've been off since the 7th of February. I have a desk job, so I wouldn't think it would be an issue to be released at the time.

I am concerned about the c5/6 level herniation and having to go through this again soon. I also have some spurring at that level. However, I've had two doctors tell me that if it isn't causing any problems, we should leave it alone. Their opinion is to only fuse if absolutely necessary.

I actually got a look at the incision today after my shower. Not real attractive, but I'm hoping over time it will heal up nicely.

BobM 03-01-2007 09:52 PM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
I think you are doing really well! There was no way I was doing computer work the day I came home.

I've had two ACDFs - for me day 2 & 3 were worse than the first day home, but not terrible - then it was steady improvement from then on. I took the pain meds for the first 3 or 4 days whether I thought I needed them or not, since the hospital staff told me it was easier to keep the pain at bay, then to let it get severe and then try to get it back down to reasonable levels. You will know when it's OK to taper off and start, so it's OK to give yourself some time.

My neurosurgeon had the same adivce about only doing the levels that were causing symptoms, even though I had 4 levels that didn't look so good. He did two the 1st operation, and another level a year later - but statistically it is not likely to need another so soon after the first. There seems to be a consensus about higher risk of having problems with adjacent discs after getting a fusion, but I don't know that there is a much better alternative. We are all learning to deal with a new 'normal', and many people here have good advice about exercise, diet, and the role of a positive mental attitude in dealing with this kind of problem.

But you are on the other side of your surgery, and have high expectations for continued improvement - and that is something to be happy about!

rob_zzz 03-01-2007 11:41 PM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
[QUOTE=Payton02]My doctor is a neurosurgeon. I assume the ibuprofen is for inflammation. If I don't take it, is there something else I can substitue for it? [/QUOTE]

Payton - make sure you speak to your surgeon about it before making any changes to what they've recommended, because he will know what they prescribed and why, and there might be reasons he wants you to take the ibuprofen.

Also are you sure you had a fusion and not a disc replacement? (similar procedures but different implants - fusion is either putting own bone, donor bone, or cage with bone graft into the space left where the disc was removed, while disc replacement is putting an 'artificial disc' into the space left after the disc was removed.

My understanding is that for a disc replacement with an artificial disc they don't want bone to grow too quickly and so would prescribe anti-inflamatories to stop too much bone growth so if you had this that would possibly explain the anti-inflamatories.

Payton02 03-02-2007 06:53 AM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
I actually had a fusion using a donor bone. I have to have xrays done before my post-op visit so that she can determine if fusion is happening. This is why the ibuprofen is concerning to me. I really don't want to inhibit fusion by taking it.

I am taking it easy today. I am using my laptop while sitting in my recliner in front of the TV. I've built myself quite a perch here. My husband is watching me like a hawk. If I even try to do something simple like empty the dishwasher, he is telling me to sit down. I suppose I feel like I can do more because of the meds. I surely don't want to overdo, so I'm going to take it easy for the entire weekend.

The doctor told me that I could take my collar off to shower and sleep. I wore it to bed last night anyway. I just don't feel comfortable having it off for too long. I find it really difficult to get out of bed. If I try to sit up, it feels as if my stiches might burst. I finally just tried to roll out this morning. Any tips for me on this? I actually slept for about 6 hours straight, which is more than I was getting pre-surgery.

What do you all do to fight the boredom? Daytime television is the worst. :yawn:

ember919 03-02-2007 09:14 AM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
Your husband has the right idea! Rest and take is easy on yourself.

I had a soft collar, too, with instructions of "wear it if you feel like it". I did wear it quite a bit at the beginning, though I think more for psychological comfort than for anything else.

If you're already sleeping laying down, you'll be the envy of about 90% of the ACDF patients here. That's one of the most difficult things early on. When moving to sitting position, trying cradling the base of your skull in your hands (like doing a crunch) with your elbows bent up next to your head. It's a little tough on the stomach muscles, but you won't feel like your head is going to fall off!

I listened to several audio books during my recovery. Love to read, but it was difficult to find a comfortable position, especially for longer periods of time. I didn't really think I'd 'get into' the audio books, but I ended up enjoying them quite a bit.

I cannot imagine why your surgeon is advising you to take ibuprofen, unless it's very short-term. Popular opinion is that it inhibits bone fusion.

Glad you're doing so well!

rob_zzz 03-02-2007 09:14 AM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
It sounds like you're doing very well and have yourself well set up. Yeah I can understand your question then if its definitely a fusion - still best to ask the surgeon though because there could be other reasons but worth finding out about one way or the other thats for sure. If I have a fusion I hope I'm doing as well as you so soon! Keep taking it easy.

all the best with it,

Payton02 03-02-2007 12:18 PM

Re: ACDF surgery yesterdy (C6/7)
I'm supposed to be taking three 800 mg ibuprofen tablets per day. I suppose I should get some answers before I just go about treating myself, huh? I have a general MD in my family, so I may pose the question to him.

Thanks for the tip on the audio books. That sounds like a good idea as I love to read also. I don't think it would be very comfortable to read a book for a very long period of time. I only use the laptop sparingly to read this message board and check email from work. I can't sit and use it for hours.

I was also surprised that I slept in bed last night. I spent alot of nights sleeping in my recliner before surgery. This was in the beginning when the pain was really bad. I don't sleep well in the chair.

I'm still learning alot of useful information from the older posts on this board. Most of the things I learned about this procedure came from this board. I wonder what people did before the internet???

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