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  • Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

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    Old 04-15-2007, 03:09 PM   #1
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    poopoopadoop HB User
    Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    Ok, please tell me this is normal. I am trying to do as little as possible - just lying in bed and sitting in bed mostly (a few days after ACDF). Just now I was reaching for something (forgot I am not supposed to it) and now worried that I wrecked something inside (like the screws popping loose). I wear a soft collar 50% of time, was told I dont need to. How hard is it to "ruin" the surgery in there? I am not lifting at all and basically not doing anything for myself. Am worried that I will pull something in my sleep.


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    Old 04-15-2007, 05:06 PM   #2
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    Re: Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    Hi Lisa,

    I absolutely do not know and will be curious what replies you get. I am 3 wks post ACDF, one level, no collar, donor bone, plate & screws. I am not taking it that easy...wasn't even really directed to other than the no "heavy" lifting, reaching and working over my head...that's about it. My NS knows I am (used to be!) a runner, of course, that's off-limits - he said for at least 8 weeks or more, depending on how things are going. I see him for my first post-op tomorrow and will ask about moderate bike riding, shooting hoops with my 6 year old (he's 6, it's not major basketball here) and swimming (is turning my neck for breathing okay - or is that too much - don't know). I really did not get a lot of direction on how careful I was to be with regular living, minus the obvious lifting and overhead working info. Not really given direction on moving/turning of my neck either...just no sudden movements was all I was told. I really like my NS, but maybe more direction would be helpful. I think he is more of the type of doc that moving and staying active, within reason, is beneficial. I know he wanted me walking several blocks within the first couple of days - not just for the clotting following surgery risk, but just to be up and around. I'm sure this all varies greatly on each individual patient's case and on the surgeon's opinion/approach when it comes to this area of recovery.

    I guess whenever I get my first x-ray it will let me know if things are at least still in place! I'll let you know when I know!

    How restricted by your surgeon were/are some of the rest of you when it comes to post-op ACDF, say in the first weeks up to few months? I'd be interested to know as well. Is it relatively easy to mess things up in there?


    Last edited by monarog; 04-15-2007 at 05:09 PM. Reason: one more thing

    Old 04-15-2007, 05:14 PM   #3
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    Re: Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    Based on the statment of your activities, you should have little concern you damaged something. Most of us have performed more activities than you have described. Although you should be carefull for a while like not lifting more than 10 pounds, or turning your head substantcially, you should be in good shape.

    Old 04-15-2007, 08:56 PM   #4
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    Re: Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    I have had two ACDFs to fuse C4/5/6/7, both times with donor bone and plate with screws. I never used a collar, hard or soft. Patients who don't get the plate and screws are at some risk, and they seem always to be in a hard collar for quite a while... I don't think those of us who get the plate are especially fragile - I wouldn't worry about damaging yourself with the activity you described. It's good to take it easy and get things off to a good start, though, so maybe don't do more than you need to be doing, and give yourself time to heal.

    The exception to this might be related to bone density where the screws would not have a good hold - each case is a little different. Your Dr would probably have mentioned this after your surgery if he thought you had increased risk, maybe even wanted you to wear a hard collar, so it sounds like he didn't see a problem with your bone density. If you are worried, why not call and ask, and put your mind at ease.


    Old 04-16-2007, 02:39 AM   #5
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    Re: Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    I too just got back from a 2 level acdf. I was in one night. They wanted to keep another, but I was too uncomfortable and just wanted to get home. My friend who is with me is the one who helped me walk around and breath into that tube. So i felt ok to go home, but everytime i get a weird feeling at my neck I'm afraid the bone isn't fusing. I have screws and a plate and a collar.
    So hearing from you guys puts me more at ease. Anyoneelse have surgical pain past day three?

    Old 04-16-2007, 07:20 AM   #6
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    Re: Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    I didnt feel really pretty decent until about 6 weeks. I had a double fusion too. (no collar). I walked everyday for about a mile on my treadmill. That was very helpful. After about 2 weeks, I felt well enough to be up more and more. But please make sure you lie down for at least short times pretty often. I think that was important to rest the ole neck. Dont do the computer for long periods of time esp. early on. It will add to your spasms!

    Old 04-16-2007, 06:54 PM   #7
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    Re: Fear of wrecking or ruining the fusion or screws?

    Surgical pain past day 3? Heavens, YES! Three days is not so very long. After each of my ACDF surgeries, I had pain for 7 to 10 days that I would call 'post surgical'. The first 3 or 4 days and nights were kind of grim for me, and then things steadily get better, but it takes some time. I returned to work each time after 6 weeks off (I have an office job, lots of computer time, etc). I got back to almost pain free after the first time, but a year later I had another level fused, and I have not got back to entirely pain free (it's now 2 years after the 2nd). But the improvements in recovering from weakness & numbdness are significant, and the chronic pain is something I can live with (though I'd rather not....) compared to the pain prior to surgery.

    Take things easy, enjoy the small steady improvements and don't get discouraged when you have a bad day, so long as the trend is positive! If the pain becomes worse or different, by all means call your Dr and get advice. After my 2nd ACDF, about day #4, I had a lot of pain that came back - turned out it was caused by inflammation around the nerves, and a course of steroids put it right - but the Drs don't know if you don't advise them if something happens - err on the side of caution!


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