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  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy

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    Old 10-27-2007, 10:37 AM   #1
    ldunn522
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    Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Hi, this is my first posting. I have had upper back, shoulder blade, arm neck pain for over 5 years. Have been diagnosed with DDD after a couple of very bad falls and sports injuries. I've done PT several times along with traction and the whole nine yards including accupuntune every other week since March. Needless to say I have gained over 60 pounds in the last 6 years because my very active lifestyle came to a complete hault. After reviewing my most recent MRI (the 2nd since 2003) because it's bad enough I can do anything anymore I am now in constant pain. My neurosurgeon said more than likely I will have to have an anterior cervical discetomy on C4-5 and C5-6. They've penciled me in for surgery on 11/20. I had a discogram done yesterday to determine if I needed to have C7 done but they were unable to reach it because I have a short neck. I have an appointment with my neurosurgeon on 10/31 to discuss the surgery. In the meantime it's driving me crazy to know what the difference is between a ACD and a ACDF (with fusion). Is there anyone out there who could help enlighten me? I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!

    Lori

     
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    Old 10-27-2007, 11:54 AM   #2
    SKZ
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Unless, I am wrong....they are the same exact thing. I have never heard of a diskectomy without a fusion. They need to stabilize the area with plates and screws and bone.
    By the way, your story sounds exactly like mine. I was in horrible pain for 5 years. Last Jan. I had a C5-C7 ACDF. My C4-C5 is a problem still, but not enough for a fusion yet. (notice I said YET). I am definitely better since the fusion. I wish I didnt wait 5 yrs to get the thing.

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 12:05 PM   #3
    ldunn522
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Thanks for your response. I think you are right they are the same thing. I was told the plate is just a placer to keep the new bone stable until it fuses with my bone. Noone mentioned screws though. How was your recovery?

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 01:34 PM   #4
    SKZ
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    The screws just keep the plates in place. So not to worry.
    The pain was really not that bad, to be totally honest. I did NOT have a collar, which I think helped me a lot. Will you have one? I also started walking slowly on the treadmill (I have one) the day I got home and it really helped me gain stamina. After the surgery you will most likely have spasms in the trapezius, neck and upper back. I had these beforehand, so it was nothing new. It took quite a long time for those to subside. They gave me Valium to help, which it did A LOT. I would say, for me, I started feeling pretty great at around 6 weeks. I started driving around a month post op, but it was tough to turn the head, so I tried to really limit that. I started PT at 6 weeks post op and that was extremely helpful to get the stretches going again. (gently!). I was doing really well, and then 4 months post op I took a big trip to NYC and pretty much torque the crud out of myself. It took a long time to get that one under control (4 months). If I were you, I would allow a minimum of 6 weeks before starting work again.

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 02:01 PM   #5
    ldunn522
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Ahhh, now I think I know ... they told me I would have to wear a collar for about 6 weeks but never mentioned screws. I have a feeling the collar will in place of the screws. So I am going to have to really be disciplined in order to get the fusion to heal the way it's suppose to. They did say because I'm an accountant and have a desk job I can return to work after a couple weeks but not to drive for at least 6. I'll keep you posted. Please feel free to provide info anytime. It's been very helpful.

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 03:13 PM   #6
    SpineAZ
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    ACD - Anterior Cervical Discectomy
    ACDF - Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

    There are many of us here who have had an ACDF.

    If you are having a C4-C6 fusion it's likely it will be done with plates and screws. I am a big supporter of the use of the neck brace during recovery from ACDF. It really helps you maintain correct positioning, healing, etc.

    Ask your physician if they will be providing you a bone stimulating unit for use during recovery. A few of us here, me being one, have had this unit prescribed to help aid in the bone fusing. Even if they use screws and plates they also use bone where the discs used to be to maintain the space between vertebrae.
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    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 10-27-2007, 06:15 PM   #7
    Janatee
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Hi ldunn522.. I have to put in my 2 cents here. I am 8 weeks post-op. I had 4 level ACDF with a corpectomy. This is where they remove the entire vertabra, they shave it up, and place it back in with what they call a cage. I did not have a donor bone, or bone taken from my hip. This is pretty new prcedure, so that is what my doc did... I have screws and plates.. Right after the operation, when I woke up, I had pain in my shoulders. After a shot of morphine, I was fine. Back in my room for 2 days, I took very little pain meds. I have the Aspen hard collar, and have been in this for 8 weeks. I go back on the 30th for x rays to see how the fusion is healing. The only thing that really hurt me was my throat. That was very sore, and you could feel the inside, because it is swollen. I had a lot of jello, sherbet, and very soft foods for a few weeks, but in time, like anything else, it all goes away, it just takes time. I am lucky, I do not work, and my husband has helped me. I do ride in the car now, and always keep the collar on. I take it off for bathing, and sometimes to eat. If I sit very still and do not turn my head, the doc said take it off to take a break. I sleep in this wonderful thing too... It is really starting to get on my last nerve...lol lol .. But, I want to get well . The problem I had was effecting my left leg. I was dragging my leg, and I could hardly pick it up. It felt heavy, and numb. I walked with a limp... NOT ANYMORE..... That is gone, but I have a long way to go to get my leg to feel more like normal.. We shall see. If I chose to do nothing and live with it, I was told I would be in a wheel chair in the future... I m to young for that... Good luck . We are all here for you... Janatee

     
    Old 10-28-2007, 06:58 AM   #8
    ldunn522
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Thank you so much for your response. I'm so glad I remembered to look at the message boards. I had some minor eyelid surgery about 10 years ago and gained so much valuable information. Just reading posts from other people has been very helpful to me. It's invaluable. I wonder what people did when they didn't have the internet. Oh I know, they probably used to convere a lot more with neighbors and people they meet on a daily basis. And I do that too but the message boards are great for people who can't get out much. You sound like you've had a hard recovery but you've done everything you were suppose to do perfectly. I think you're going to be very happy with the ends results. As for me I will force myself to do what I'm suppose to do after the operation because I've spent too many years suffering from this. Best of Luck to you!

     
    Old 11-06-2007, 07:44 AM   #9
    nate04a4
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    I am about 1 week post-op from having a c5-c7 acdf with plate and allograph. I don't feel too bad, aside from my throating feeling weird. I don't have that much pain. I have alot of tightness going front to back. Side to side I have no more disc pain which is great. I don't have anymore rushes of pins and needles going down my left arm anymore. I notice if I exert a little I feel a burning sensation in the back of my neck which I am sure is expected. I have been just taking 1 percocet (oxycodone) every 4-6 hours if needed. I haven't been wearing my soft collar, but have been sleeping in the recliner with a boppy looking (moms and dads will know what I mean) beaded pillow similar to a horseshoe to keep my head stationary. The softy collar is just too tight on my throat. My only question was wound care. It looks like dermabond on the wound. I read somewhere that it is usually that with dissolvable stitches under the dermabond. How did most of you take care of this type of wound?

     
    Old 11-06-2007, 09:43 AM   #10
    peggyd05
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Hi-I'm three weeks post-op for same levels. I wear a Miami J (hard) collar all the time, except when I shower. I'm not sure what you're referring to as dermabond. Is it like a saran wrap looking material? My sister (a nurse) took that off about the 3rd day. I forget what she called it--something that starts with a "T". Anyway, the incision is covered with large steri-strips to hold it together and I keep a clean non-stick dressing taped over it. The doctor said he would remove the steri-strips in a few weeks. When I shower, I gently wash the wound site with antibacterial soap (dial), gently pat the strips dry with a towel and put a clean non-stick pad back over it. As far as pain goes, my first week wasn't too bad either. The second week was more painful, and I have since had a lot of pain from the base of my head down to the middle of my shoulder blades. But that was an area of pain for me before surgery. I'm also getting a lot of numbness back in my right arm and hand, which had pretty much been relieved following surgery at first. But everyone is different and reacts differently to the surgery. Don't be afraid to call your doctor with questions. Good luck! Peggy

     
    Old 11-06-2007, 11:21 AM   #11
    nate04a4
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    Yeah the dermabond is just a liquid stitch in a squeeze tube that surgeons use, I have no steri-strips. I hope I have no pain in the next upcoming weeks. I have been getting alot of randon spasms in my chest and triceps (maybe because I am a bodybuilder I don't know). Occasion slight tingle back in my left arm, not sure if it is reflexes coming back, considering that at my surgical consult prior to surgery, I had no reflex in my left arm when he used that little rubber mallet.

     
    Old 11-06-2007, 01:33 PM   #12
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    I can't believe your doctor isn't making you wear a collar,they're so much fun (LOL)!! I have heard some doctors don't demand them though. I had a bunch of problems for about 2 yrs. before I went in for the surgery. We tried 3 epidurals which didn't help at all, and the neurological problems (numbness, weakness, stumbling, etc.) were starting to progress, so it was my last resort. From everything I've learned about the cervical spine problems, I know they don't guarantee that all or any problems will reverse. It's basically to stop the progression so there's no additional damage done. So I figure if anything gets better, it's a bonus. I also know that the longer you have the problems, the more there's a chance that the nerve damage will be permanent.
    As far as the swallowing --another member here recommended very small bites at a time, and that was great advice. If you try to swallow too much at a time, it feels like it gets stuck or you choke on it---ate a lot of jello and pudding. Now I just get a really bad sore throat some days if I talk too much.

     
    Old 11-08-2007, 07:24 AM   #13
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    anyway ---- I had c4/5 done I had tremendous headaches etc. - feb 2003... not ONE headache since..... I am going to see him in december for C5/6 which I tried NOT to operate on if at all possible.... but .... I need it. anyway - he is THE man..... whenever I tell anyone around here in TX (meaning surgeons) about the procedure Ihad --- they look at me like I am CRAZY! and they take xrays - (pain mgmt doc) and says.... it looks like you didn't have anything done -to c4/5 looks so completely healthy - and IT IS!!!! YES - thanks god for dr. reuter! BUT for this surgery - you must have only a herniated disc (you need to have quite a bit of disc left) so degenerations..... are probably not able to be done this way --- but check out this Dr. anyway and see.

    Last edited by HBMod07; 11-10-2007 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Directing searches is not permitted

     
    Old 11-08-2007, 08:29 AM   #14
    ldunn522
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    I just received a call today from my surgeons office saying that my insurance company may not authorize the fusion. They're requesting medical records regarding other treatments such as physical therapy etc. I've had atleast 3 rounds of extensive PT and 6 months of accupunture. Will that be enough for my insurance company to approve the fusion. I'm all of sudden sick to my stomach thinking there's a possibilty I have to live with this pain!

     
    Old 11-08-2007, 10:26 AM   #15
    Escgirl
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    Re: Anterior Cervical Discectomy

    even tho I am in TX Dr. reuter is in network with my insurance company - thank god.

    YES usually you have to have proof for insurance companies big time.... but you can provide that! have your Dr's pull your records and PT people and fax them or mail them to the insurance company... somtimes the surgeon will do this for you.

     
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