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How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

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Old 04-06-2010, 03:07 AM   #1
Poppa John
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How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I was wondering if the members of this list who have had c-5/c-6 acdf's could share how long they were off work post-op.

I saw the Neurosurgeon in March and he said that I could probably return to work in 3 weeks post op. I'm a sonographer working for a mobile service. I have to load and unload an ultrasound machine from a truck/van and push it across parking lots, lift it over door thresholds, etc.

Thanks in advance for sharing. I have't scheduled my surgery yet because my employer hasn't given me a definitive aswer about the time off from work yet. NS isn't happy that I won't go ahead and schedule, says I'm risking permanent nerve damage.

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Old 04-06-2010, 01:23 PM   #2
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

After each of my surgeries I was not able to lift/push/pull more than 10 lbs for 6 - 8 weeks. Make sure your doc knows if you do any heavy lifting, because that will be a big no no. Most docs will make you wear a neck brace for 6 weeks after ACDF. That will mean you will not be able to drive. Safely that is. I wish you the best. Take care. Tim
ACDF C3/4 w/graph/hardware (2000), ACDF C6/7 w/graph/hardware (2004) 2010 ACDF Revision Surgery. Removed plates at C3/4 and C6/7 and put in bone graphs and plates at C4/5 and C5/6 with Corpectomy.

Old 04-07-2010, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I am four weeks post op from acdf c5/c6. My neurosurgeon has ordered me not to lift anything more than 5 to 10 lbs, and that I can take my soft collar off when being supported by a chair or when sleeping. I have my first post op appointment tomorrow, and hopefully will be released to go back to work. He told me to expect 4 to 6 weeks off work for recovery time. I am shooting for the 4 weeks!

Old 04-10-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I went back half days at 10 days and full time after 3 weeks. I clarify here that I had a desk job and was allowed to get up and walk at any time. I also did absolutely no lifting for the first 6-8 weeks and then was minimal. I do remeber my doctor said not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for several weeks postop. I would not push myself as you do need time to heal properly before pushing your boundaries. I also was not allowed to drive for 6 weeks post op so that should tell you how motion, turning, etc affects the healing process.

Old 04-11-2010, 11:45 AM   #5
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

Hi I had mine done a month ago and it is only in the last few days I have felt well. I have continued to have pain in my arms and had to increase my Gabapentin to nearly double the dose I was taking previously. However, for the last few days I have been helping my daughter move out of her flat and have been more active than before - although I have not been lifting more than a few pounds I have been cleaning out the fridge and dealing with the grime in the cooker and other general cleaning duties. I swear the extra exercise has made my arms less painful. Is that possible? The problem is that if it feels OK I tend to think it is OK and since I have not had any advice about do's and don'ts I .have tended to follow my instincts. Up until now I would not carry the laundry basket down and got others to carry trays with supper on as I felt it was too heavy.

With regard to advice and return to work I have been given no advice what so ever. I know of others who have had 3 months off and that is what I am aiming for. One person I know went back at 3 months found work exhausting and felt it was too soon. It was only by 5 months that she felt full time work was possible. I have only driven for the first time this weekend and until my arms are less painful I won't be able to use a keyboard. I only do light work - no lifting but my job is stressful so I feel I need to be fully fit. My employer is happy to accept a phased return to work also. And I suppose as long as my doctor writes the sick notes they cannot really object. My job entitles me to 6 months sick pay but I used up nearly 3 months prior to the op as I literally could not use my arms for more than short periods.

We don't use braces here in the UK either so I suppose the answer is it depends on when you feel ready and fit. You need to take care not to push yourself to get back to work simply because you feel you have to. When we are told it takes 6 - 12 months to fuse I imagine we need to be taking care for that length of time.

Old 04-11-2010, 04:41 PM   #6
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I don't think you'll be able to do the kind of work you do in 3 weeks. I had ACDF C5-C6 and I was off work for 9 weeks, which I think is probably a little long. I have a desk job... I think you would find it very hard to do that for 8 hours, plus the heavy lift and very physical nature of your job - you're probably looking at 6-8 weeks, and then you will still have to take it easy.

Old 04-15-2010, 06:20 AM   #7
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I wouldn't be in a hurry to get back to that kind of work. I just started back after a C6-C7 acdf. It has been 7wks and I wish I had taken longer. I do cleaning and the vacuuming and moping has caused a lot of pain down my neck to my mid back and across the back of my shoulders. Now I spend all the time that I'm not working with my heating pad and Flexaril and pain meds.

Old 04-15-2010, 09:34 AM   #8
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I had this surgery on 03/17/10 and I am just returning to work 4 weeks post-op on a "play it by ear" schedule. My boss understands that if I feel I need to go home and rest then that is what I have to do. I have a desk job so I do not have to lift anything, but I do have to be concerned with my posture constantly. I do not have to wear my cervical collar except when driving, but after my first day back yesterday I have decided to wear my collar all day to assure I keep my neck straight. I was very sore last night from moving my head around too much. My surgical site no longer has pain, but my muscles are still spastic and I am still tired, but I think the quicker you get back to life the quicker you will heal! A positive attitude always helps too!

I am not sure how anyone with a job that requires any sort of lifting could return until their vertebrae has fused, but I did not have to worry about that.

Good luck!
C5/6 acdf and corpectomy with hardware on 03/17/2010

Old 04-17-2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

Every Doctor is different and will know more after the first check up post op, you should keep in mind through, that if you push things your only hurting your self.

Old 04-17-2010, 04:53 PM   #10
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Re: How long off work after c-5/c-6 acdf

I am 3 1/2 wks post op from a c6/7 ACDF. I see my neurosurgeon on Monday for an xray and office visit to see how my fusion is going. I have high hopes he'll let me drive again, even if I have to wear the collar at other times. I have been off all pain meds for 4 days and before that was only taking them at night. I have had no real pain since surgery except the hip where the bone graft was taken from and when I've over done it I've had muscle spasms in my back.

I am out of work for 3 months as I am a massage therapist but still have to be active as I have 3 little ones at home.

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