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  • Has acdf helped u? I am scared.

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    Old 09-16-2011, 12:01 PM   #1
    hellohowru
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    Has acdf helped u? I am scared.

    I am scheduled to have Anterior cervical disectomy fusion in October. I have been in so much pain for the last year. I have tried all other options...therapy, chiropractors,epidurals and nothing has helped yet. I am so nervous and not sure what to expect. I am wondering what to expect after the surgery? ( recovery time) I have numbness,tingiling,burning,pain under right shoulder blade and into ribs, and lost mobility to turn my neck to the right. Has anyone else had pain there and the surgery helped? Thanks for your info.

     
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    Old 09-16-2011, 04:33 PM   #2
    WebDozer
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    Re: Has acdf helped u? I am scared.

    A single-level ACDF (C5-6)? That's not a big deal. Recovery is not fun, but not terrible, either, considering what they are doing. Whether or not it helps your existing symptoms depends on what's causing those symptoms and how long you let them go before getting surgery. The longer nerve damage lasts, the more likely it is to become permanent.

    At any rate, your doc should have told you that the main reason for surgery is to keep you from getting worse, not to make you better (although that is certainly to be hoped for).

     
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    Old 09-16-2011, 04:44 PM   #3
    jacdobe
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    Re: Has acdf helped u? I am scared.

    I was in a car accident 3/2/10 and as a result of the collision suffered a broad based disc herniation and nerve root impingement that affected my left arm, hand and fingers as well as causing terrible pain in my neck and shoulder area. Prior to surgery I tried conservative treatment including physical therapy, facet injections and medication. By the time I had my surgery I was on 10 mg of Flexeril 3 times a day, Vicodin 10/325mg 3-4 times a day and Lyrica (100mg I think) 3x a day with the medication only lessening the pain a very little bit. The pain just kept getting worse and eventually became intolerable so on 11/29/10 I had a one level ACDF at C5/6 with allograft and titanium steel plate and bone screws.

    Immediately after surgery I could feel a big difference. I was in pain from the surgery, but it was a different type of pain...the pain of an incision, not that dragging agony I had dealt with before. 90% of my nerve pain and numbness was gone immediately and 10 months post op I have only about 3-5% of the numbness and none of the nerve pain remaining. My shoulder and neck pain is greatly reduced and only very occasionally present. In the year following the accident until my surgery I was unable to work. I couldn't even lift a gallon of milk or do dishes without being in agony for the rest of the day.

    I returned to work in April 2011, 4 months post op and it was a physical job requiring lifting up to 50 lbs occasionally and up to 30 lbs on a regular basis, to boot. Since then I have had occasional headaches (less than 1x a week) when I drive long distances and have occasional neck pain (perhaps once a week) when I am holding my neck in the same position for a long period of time but other than that I am very happy with the results of the surgery.

    I cannot say that you will have the same success as I did (or even if I will continue to enjoy the same success). It depends on so many variables. I have a relatively healthy spine with only very minor DDD. The other discs in my cervical spine are healthy and without issue. My herniation was due to a trauma and not due solely to degeneration, so your situation may be different but I hope this has offered you some comfort and information.

     
    Old 09-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #4
    frenchfri1003
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    Wink Re: Has acdf helped u? I am scared.

    Hopefully you have researched your options and the surgeon who will be doing your surgery and had at least 1 or 2 other opinions to make sure they all agree. I was similar to you that I waited until the pain was unbearable and my quality of life was decreased. I also tried alternatives to no avail. How long have your symptoms been going on? Do you know what caused your situation? Both of those answers may impact your recovery time.
    As other have said and you may have read, recovery is different for everyone. The hospital stay can be as little as 24 hours, mainly 2 days or like myself 5 days. For me the pain I had before surgery was literally gone although I was in pain due to the swelling and inability to swallow. There also pain or discomfort involved from the surgery, they are moving your trachea and esophagus over in order to get to your spine. For me they had to open up the space to place a cage in order to realign my spine. That pressure does cause some tightness. I wore a hard collar for a few days and then a soft collar. Every surgeon is different. My ROM was definitely limited due to the surgery. It did take alot of time to get the ROM back and the strength in my arms. I was glad that my husband was able to be home with me the first days after surgery. Have alot of soft foods available: jello, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, ... Bendy straws and stool softeners are also 2 items that I found very helpful. I slept in the recliner for a few weeks, many people have propped up pillows in their beds. Just do what ever makes you more comfortable. Good luck and keep me posted.

    **************************************** *********
    12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
    BMP & bone fragment filled cages
    2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
    2/17/2011 starting PT
    wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
    DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
    3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
    4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit
    6 months - end plate growth going well - no more bone stimulator, issues with hands going to vascular and hand surgeons to find out why
    8/2011 - may have TOS or RSD still researching
    9/2/2011 Rear ended at 30 mph. Significant Whiplash

    Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
    tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery








    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hellohowru View Post
    I am scheduled to have Anterior cervical disectomy fusion in October. I have been in so much pain for the last year. I have tried all other options...therapy, chiropractors,epidurals and nothing has helped yet. I am so nervous and not sure what to expect. I am wondering what to expect after the surgery? ( recovery time) I have numbness,tingiling,burning,pain under right shoulder blade and into ribs, and lost mobility to turn my neck to the right. Has anyone else had pain there and the surgery helped? Thanks for your info.

     
    Old 09-29-2011, 07:31 PM   #5
    sly fox
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    Re: Has acdf helped u? I am scared.

    Had a c5-6 that I waited on and tried to heal with meds, pt, rest, etc. nothing worked. Wish I had the surgery sooner. Please research the surgery and mostly the surgeon. I had a surgeon who put NFL players back onthe field with same surgery so I knew it would work for me. It saved my career and my lifestyle. Good luck!

     
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