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  • What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

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    Old 04-16-2007, 01:01 PM   #1
    souffoue
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    What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    I guess the title says it all -

    Just wondering what the risks are if a person chooses NOT to have ACDF?

    I have surgery scheduled for 4/19 and I am completely freaking out about it. My fear is I won't wake up and (haven't said this out loud before) will die on the table. I know the odds are in my favor -- I just can't help thinking about that. I am completely nervous about the surgery - so sick to my stomach right now.

    My pain has gotten better the last few days although I still have numbness; pain in my hand/elbow/neck and burning in my neck/shoulder area. The pain is no longer constant and off the charts from my neck/shoulder/arm etc.

    If someone needs ACDF and chooses not to have it -- will they eventually need it later on -- does the pain always come back off the charts?????

    Last edited by souffoue; 04-16-2007 at 01:17 PM. Reason: typo

     
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    Old 04-16-2007, 01:13 PM   #2
    souffoue
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    sorry accidentally sent a blank reply to my own post -- I really am nervous about the upcoming surgery!

    Last edited by souffoue; 04-16-2007 at 01:17 PM.

     
    Old 04-16-2007, 02:13 PM   #3
    Payton02
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    I had ACDF of C6-7 with donor bone and plate at the end of February. My main symptoms were weakness and numbness in my left arm and hand. The pain issues had pretty much subsided prior to surgery. I asked my surgeon what the risks were if I chose not to have the surgery. She told me that the longer the root nerve was compressed, the higher chance that I would have permanent damage to that nerve. I don't know if you also have cord compression, but if you do, that is nothing to mess around with. I know that I was quite scared before sugery, but I felt the benefits outweighed the risks. I am now seven weeks post-op and pretty much back to normal.

     
    Old 04-16-2007, 06:47 PM   #4
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    I really think your pain will get worse if you dont have the surgery. Mine started when I was 45, and it got worse every year. Then the numbness in the hands set in. I really dont think these things improve without help. I wish they did, though. Why dont you call the Dr. on Tues. and tell them that you are freaking out. Maybe they will prescribe you some Valium or Xanax ahead of time to calm you down. Seriously.

     
    Old 04-16-2007, 07:08 PM   #5
    sunshine221
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    I waited too long to get diagnosed and while my surgery solved a lot of my issues, a post op MRI shows some permanent damage.

     
    Old 04-16-2007, 07:50 PM   #6
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    I didn't have a lot of choice as I had cord compression...I'm not sure if you're dealing with nerve root only, cord compression - or both. Certainly the cord is nothing to mess with and delay. But as already stated, unabated nerve compression can do permanent damage to that nerve; you sure don't want that either.

    I can only speak for myself. One level ACDF, donor bone, plate and screws 3 weeks ago was a breeze for me. I was home within 5 hours of leaving for the surgery, no kidding. I still have TONS of neuro issues I'm hoping will resolve in time. But the surgery part of things was not huge for me. Was I nervous before and freaking out? You bet, just like you.

    I never knew I was intubated, was "asleep" before and was not intubated when I "awoke." I was crazy-nervous, crying as I left my husband and mom from the pre-op area and walked to the operating room. They got me situated on the table, talking, nice people etc....then...wham....I "woke up" in the recovery area. For me...the waiting was the worst part. I agree, call the doc office tomorrow and request some sort of RX to help calm the pre-surgical freak out - nothin' wrong with doing that.

    It is in your favor that this will be the start of improving symptoms, pain and a better life - try to focus on that. Please keep us posted. Mona

     
    Old 04-17-2007, 08:58 AM   #7
    souffoue
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    Thanks so much everyone for the wonderful replies. It is nice to know that I am in such good company and not the only one that freaked out before surgery. I am a worrier by nature and thought of having surgery on my neck just scares the heck out of me. I don't think I would be as nervous if I didn't have my DD to think about - she is young (7).

    I'm still freaking out but I will come back and read this thread whenever it gets to be too much for me. Thanks again!!!

     
    Old 04-17-2007, 08:08 PM   #8
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    For me it was 100% a quality of life decision. I was miserable and the surgery was much easier than I ever anticipated. Living with the pain was not an option for me so I'm glad I went forward with the surgery. Don't worry about freaking out - everyone who has surgery has those fears. Just tell yourself how much better you'll be after.
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    Old 04-18-2007, 02:29 PM   #9
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    you could risk permanent nerve or spinal cord damage, depending on your situation if you choose not to go thru with it. I don't know what your situation is, but if things are serious and invovling your cord, if you don't get the surgery - worse case cinareo, you could end up paralized. Good luck and many Blessings on your surgery tomorrow. Try not to worry, after all, your surgeon is the one who has to do all the work, not you

     
    Old 04-19-2007, 12:23 AM   #10
    987mom
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    Re: What are the risks if you chose NOT to have ACDF?

    Dear Souffoue,

    I know this is late and you are probably getting your beauty sleep before your surgery scheduled for later today, but let me give you a bit of peace concerning this procedure. I am 1 week postop today. I am sitting up in bed right now because my muscle relaxers have gotten my days and nights a wee bit messed up, BUT, please do not feel nervous. If you are in pain, you must be proactive to become healthy again. You and your family deserve the best you possible.

    My first ACDF C5-C6 was done 2 years ago by a surgeon that tried his best, but the donor bone did not fuse. I am not a smoker, I was compliant...it was just a fluke. I am an RN and love my job, so when my symptoms did not completely go away, I sought care from another doc (this time a NS) and I feel 100% different at this point in my recovery.

    I had my own bone removed and this time the NS chose to use a cage and different type of hardward. Everything went well and I just know that I will have a great outcome this time. Trusting your doc is very important.

    My encouragement to you is: Ask God to be with you and your entire surgical team on the day of your procedure. Kiss your loved ones and give them a big bear hug before you leave for the hospital. You MUST BELIEVE that you will have healing and health once again. Do not question it and do not focus on the what ifs....it does you no good.

    Prepare to be a bit stiff and annoyed by your collar for the next couple of weeks. Take your pain pills and muscle relaxers as directed. If the collar is freaking you out, ask your doc for Valium, and s/he should gladly give you what you need to keep you compliant.

    I told you earlier that I am an RN....actually I am a Surgical Nursing Administrator and I feel very confident in telling you that your surgery is very common and provided you are in a good hospital with a good team of doctors ( surgeons and anesthesiologists) and nurses....you will not remember anything except waking up with a smiling nurse assessing your discomfort level. They usually ask you to use a 1-10 scale. 1= almost nothing, 10=worst pain ever. They let you be the judge and they will always have orders to medicate you immediately per your complaint of discomfort. No need to be stoic here, ask and you shall receive. Most surgeons have standing orders for you to be hooked up to a PCA pump that will deliver a small amount of narcotic around the clock and have a clicker for you to use to deliver an extra amount when needed.

    I really hope this helps....I would love to hear back from you and how much better you will feel.

    Good luck and God Bless,
    DB

     
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