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  • just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

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    Old 08-20-2002, 04:08 PM   #1
    johnspierce
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    just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi Folks,

    I've been lurking on the board for a while now, reading people's stories and in general learning what I was going to deal with in my surgery. So, now that it's done, I wanted to relate my experiences to the board and perhaps help someone else.

    My name is John, I live in Denver, Colorado and in May of 2002 I had an MRI and met with a Neurosurgeon to talk about an ongoing cervical disc condition which had flared up significantly the previous month. In short, my Doctor showed my wife and I the MRI and indicated his recommendation for Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion for levels C5/C6/C7.

    I am 46 years old, non-smoker, 240 lb, 6'2" Male with no significant health problems besides the herniated discs.

    One of the worst parts about preparing for the surgery was that I wasn't scheduled until 8/14 and in the 4 months between diagnoses and surgery, I actually wasn't feeling too bad. I was starting to fear whether the surgery was necessary and was thinking maybe I would heal without it. My symptoms were left arm pain with numbness in the first two fingers and thumb. At night I sometimes had pain in my shoulder blades.

    So, I quit taking all pain medications about 2 weeks before surgery and by the time the drugs wore off I was really in pain... guess I still need that surgery! I had just learned how to manage my pain really well through prescription drugs.

    On Wednesday, August 14th I was rolled into the pre-op assessment area at which point a cast of hundreds came by and each took my vitals and asked questions about my surgical history. The anesthesiologist came by and we discussed how I have mild sleep Apnea, so they would keep my on oxygen immediately post-op to make sure it didn't cause a problem.

    At about 8:00 am I was rolled into surgery. The anesthesiologist told me he was starting the IV with the general and that I would be intubated for the operation to keep the bruising down and help me breathe.

    My Dr. firmly believes in the benefits of Autograft bone for the fusion, so the operation took a total of 4 hours including the incision an removal of bone from my Iliac crest. They went in through my right-front lower neck with a horizontal cut about 3 inches long. The Dr. put a titanium plate around the 3 vertebrae at c5/c6/c7 with 6 screws.

    I awoke in recovery about 5 hours after surgery began and stayed there about another hour while they watched me and slowly brought me around. I have absolutely no recollection of "going under" or waking up for that matter <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">

    Dr. Colapinto (great Dr., highly recommend )used a purpleish glue to seal the incision in my neck and staples (11 of them) to seal the 4 inch incision in my right hip. Everything went to spec and I was talking to my wife and mother later that afternoon in good spirits.

    By the next morning I was walking around and actually felt pretty good, so they sent me home about noon. I was in the hospital a total of 30 hours. Stopped by the hospital pharmacy on the way home and got some Percocet for pain.

    I know this is pretty darn long-winded, but I want to tell it front to back so that other folks will get an idea before their surgery -- after I got home, I walked around a bit more and started to get sore, so I laid down and took a nap. In short, I felt the operation was a success and I was on the road to healing. Some thoughts:

    * The neck brace is a pain in the butt, but it's only 6 weeks, right?

    * The incision in my hip is not as painful as I thought it would be -- maybe I got lucky!

    * I bought 4 bags of ludens cough drops before surgery -- essential! you will need something to help soothe your throat the first 2 days.

    * I still have problems sleeping laying down flat -- I have to sleep elevated about 20-30 degrees.

    * The neck incision is slightly tender, but for all practical purposes does not hurt at all.

    * My numbness and pain in my left arm and back are gone! After the operation the Dr. came by and said he thought my herniated disc was "Most Impressive" -- he seemed rather excited about it <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">

    * Taking showers is a bit tedious because of the hip bandage, but I can do pretty much whatever I want.

    * I have an appointment this Thursday to take the 11 staples out of my hip and my followup x-ray is 6 weeks after the surgery to verify fusion.

    So, sorry about the length of this message, just want to help -- everything is better after the surgery, I would not hesitate to do it again.

    Take care,
    John

    [This message has been edited by johnspierce (edited 08-20-2002).]

    [This message has been edited by johnspierce (edited 08-20-2002).]

    [This message has been edited by johnspierce (edited 08-20-2002).]<p>[This message has been edited by johnspierce (edited 08-20-2002).]

     
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    Old 08-20-2002, 07:15 PM   #2
    lmotivans
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi John,

    Great to hear you had a successful surgery. I had the same surgery but used donor bone on April 23rd. I know exactly what pain you had. I had to wait 5 months before I got my surgery. I thinks it because I have an HMO and I was put at the end of the list. My surgeon didn't have me wear a collar. I only wore it the first day home and when I was in a car the first 6 weeks.

    You can see my progress from reading my previous post.

    Everyday you will notice an improvement. Do not over do it. You may feel great but your body is still healing. Even now I'm still pretty careful. I worked in the garden over the weekend and my neck and shoulders are sore. My Dr said it takes about a full year to fully recover. I am very pleased with my progress so far.

    I wish you a healthy recovery. Keep us posted.

    Regards,
    Leo

     
    Old 08-20-2002, 08:07 PM   #3
    johnspierce
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi Leo,
    Thanks for the advice.... although I am very pleased so far with my recovery, I am being exceedingly cautious with everything I do. I am in an HMO too and that may have been why it took a little while to get scheduled. I do have to say I am really happy with my HMO (Kaiser Permanente) here in Colorado -- everybody was really nice and attentive and it did not cost me one thin dime! I was very happy to find out Kaiser only uses board-certified Neurosurgeons and Anesthesiologsts.

    I have heard like you have that it will be about 1 year for full recovery and I think that will be great! A year is a short period of time to insure I don't keep having these recurring herniated disc episodes. I am glad you are doing well too and will watch your posts!

    Thanks,
    John

     
    Old 08-21-2002, 02:54 AM   #4
    Lindaanne
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi John. I too had the same exact surgery Yesterday August 19. I am female 42 nonsmoker in good health and totally, totally amazed I am all fixed up! I still can't believe it is done. I feel so much better. The only annoying thing is the neck swelling and I'm having a tightness in throat. My surgery was a total of 2 hours and I was up and about 5 hours later. The sore throat was the pits but conpared to my 2 years of pain it's nothing.
    How are you propping yourself up? That's where I'm having difficulty tonight sleeping. I lay down I feel like I'm choking and it drives me nuts.
    I forgot to mention I had mine done with donor bone.
    I also have had huge baseball sized spasms going to my shoulders from my neck and they have eased.
    So glad to see how well you're doing and you're probably amazed just like I am. I still can't believe it's over with. Good luck in your recovery. Linda

     
    Old 08-21-2002, 08:31 AM   #5
    johnspierce
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi Linda,
    Glad to hear you are doing so well! The sleeping issue is a bit difficult, but not unbearable.... for the first week I actually slept in a recliner because of the "choking feeling" when laying flat or even propped up on pillows. My throat has opened up quite a bit now (1 week from surgery today) and my mother sent me a foam wedge she had from years ago which has about a 14 inch rise at it's top and is about 3 feet long. I think she got it a the "Relax the Back" store. I put two pillows on top of it and get about the same feeling as the recliner. I feel sure none of this will be necessary in a week or two - hope it's the same for you!

    I'm sure you feel the same way I do in that the surgery really does work and I'm so happy to be rid of that nagging pain/numbness in my left arm. I know some people don't have such an immediate response, so I feel really lucky.

    Hope you have a quick recovery!

    Cheers,
    John<p>[This message has been edited by johnspierce (edited 08-21-2002).]

     
    Old 08-21-2002, 01:38 PM   #6
    DavyD
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi John and ALL,

    If you have been following the posts you will probably know that I had my surgery on the 7th August, two weeks ago.
    C6 Vertebrectomy,ACDF with decompression own bone titanium plate and four screws.

    I have no pain and hardly any numbness at all(Numbness present for 2 years prior to surgery)
    My hip scar is fine,like you my neck is very slightly tender.I have drove the car the past 3 days,didn't need the collar as Surgeon stated would be counter productive.
    I sleep at night with two pillows and a third V shaped bollster It suits me fine and I get a restful sleep.
    Glad your surgery and others I have read here has been a success, I consider mine nothing short of a miracle, if you read my back posts you will see why.

    <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif"> to ALL

    Davy


    ------------------
    Had C6 Vertebrectomy,ACDF with Decompression,Titanium Plate and Screws (MRI Compatible) 07/08/2002
    Own bone from (R) Iliac Crest.

     
    Old 08-22-2002, 10:05 AM   #7
    Jen7
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hello John,
    I too had surgery this past May 9th. I had a fusion done to c5-c6 no plate, bone from my hip. I could definitly relate to your sleeping problems. I could not lay flat for a good 2 months. I had to wear my collar for a total of 9 weeks. Don't let the wonderful hardware get you down. It will be off before you know it!! I am very glad to hear you are doing so well. Are they going to put you through physical therapy later? PT has been helping me so much. I now have 90% range of motion on my left side and 75% range on my right. We are working on it!! Good luck to you. You are in my prayers.
    Love,
    Jen <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/angel.gif">

     
    Old 08-22-2002, 12:14 PM   #8
    johnspierce
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Thanks for all the responses! Nice to hear how others are doing.... I had my staples in my hip incision removed today and I have to say it made a real difference in how I can move around. Feeling really good so far! The nurse at my Neuro's office said most people have trouble sleeping flat for a couple of weeks or more. No big deal, eh?

    Cheers,
    John

     
    Old 08-22-2002, 03:51 PM   #9
    DavyD
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    Re: just had 2 level acdf surgery on 8/14/02

    Hi John,

    You are doing absolutely fantastic,keep up the good work and progress reports.
    Likewise I am also doing great and am very optomistic for the future.

    <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif"> to ALL

    Davy


    ------------------
    Had C6 Vertebrectomy,ACDF with Decompression,Titanium Plate and Screws (MRI Compatible) 07/08/2002
    Own bone from (R) Iliac Crest.

     
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