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ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

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Old 02-09-2010, 03:46 PM   #1
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ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

I come back to post and update here every so often because, I believe, the nature of these kinds of boards is horror stories (or at least it was years ago when I had my surgery). People with good outcomes, naturally, tend to move on with their lives and no longer post.

Well, I'm back to post a good outcome.

I had a fusion and foraminotomy on relatively short notice in 2006 after a neurologist noticed a lack of reflex response during an exam and subsequently scheduled an MRI. I went back to discuss the results of the test and wound up meeting with my NS the next day. I had cervical stenosis induced myelopathy and a clogged nerve vent off my spinal cord.

Following the surgery I had pain and expected it. But it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. The surgeon didn't rip apart layer after layer of tissue to reach my spine. A retractor here and a retractor there and he had a little tunnel to my discs. I was hitting golf balls (with collar on) at 10 days out. I did my three week X-ray (all good) and three month X-ray (released from care) and that was that.

None of that is to say I didn't have periodic flare-ups; I did and for quite some time. But I expected them. The guy took a burr to a nerve canal and jostled around all sorts of stuff. My cord and nerves had been damaged and took some time to return to normal. But, again, nothing unexpected.

All in all, my tonsillectomy was much worse (that really seems to bother some people). Everything is still fine today, although I have quite a bit of crepitus (cracking and popping). I see my Neuro once a year because my NS told me another level would probably have to be done at some point.

I ride a big motorcycle, play sports, and am in no way hindered by my fusion. Hundreds of thousands of people have this surgery and are back to work in about three weeks (that's typical). Don't psych yourself into thinking things are worse than they are; I'm absolutely convinced that your own expectations dictate your recovery.

That's all for now. Catch you in a year (or two or three).

"Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for." George Bernard Shaw

Last edited by ThoreauFan; 02-09-2010 at 03:47 PM.

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Old 02-10-2010, 07:54 AM   #2
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

Thank you for a good story! I'm glad to hear you are doing well. I may be having a fusion and while the horror stories aren't enough to turn me off, they still aren't pleasant to read

Old 02-10-2010, 01:24 PM   #3
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

I too overall feel I had a good outcome. If not for the delay in my evaluation and treatment, I feel I would have considered it an excellent recovery. I later developed Fibromyalgia and Lupus which have caused me some health issues but as for the ACDF I feel I got great results. I know that common sense tells one that you will never be 100% after such a repair, but for the most part, my numbness and some aches and pains is nothing compared to what I was experiencing before the repair. I was back to work full time in 3 weeks with a little accomodations from a gracious boss.

Old 02-19-2010, 09:49 AM   #4
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

How much was your movement hindered by your fusion? I'm having the same two discs removed. I'm only 26 years old and my only concern about the surgery is losing a lot of range of motinon with my neck movement. Looking at a diagram of a spine, it's hard to believe the range of motion isn't greatly reduced.

Old 02-19-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

Paldog, My first surgery, back in 2001...with a two level fusion with own bone but no plates/hardware had great success for over 2 years without any pain...returned to work after 4 weeks on all surgeries..

unfortunately for me, the fusion failed..bone resorption... after 3 more years and have since had two more surgeries... was great for those first few years!...without hardware didn't have much loss of motion...hardware now with 360 surgery I have much more loss of motion but can still drive and such..just harder to talk to someone on a plane or dinner table right next to me...

TF and Gold..glad you have had great success!!!

Last edited by Ilovemycutedog; 02-19-2010 at 01:01 PM.

Old 02-23-2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

Good idea! I had ADCF c5-7 in 2006..took a little bit to get rid of post-op pain (about 5 weeks) An occasional day of pain here or there. but that's it..I even bowl twice a week with a 14 pound ball!
It's a lot scarier than it really is! :0)

Old 02-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #7
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

Regarding loss of range of motion, I actaully have no loss when looking to my left, and maybe 50% to the right. Also some loss of chin to chest and looking straight up. I had a three level fusion and plating of C5-C7, but I had a congenital fusion of C5-6 so I am sure that may be the nature of some of my loss of motion. I found that adjusting to the discrepancy in motion was easy to perfect. I use mirrors in traffic religiously and have to turn upper body when backing up but all in all is not that big a deal. I do sit at eye level at movies and have adjusted other tasks accordingly. Hope that eases your mind.

Old 02-24-2010, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: ACDF C5-C7 Five Years Later...

I want to thank all of you for these updates. I just had my surgery almost 20 days ago and i know rom will change maybe but looking up and down there is some loss, but left to right seems just fine. Thanks again for yall's updates years after ACDF

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