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having another ACDF and scared!

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Old 10-13-2012, 04:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
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kvolf HB User
having another ACDF and scared!

Hi everyone:
I am new to the group and am so thankful for the support. Two years ago I had an ACDF at C5-C6. The surgery went fine but I have been living in chronic pain for the past year. Now i have a blown disc above and below the fusion so in 10 days I'm going back in to get C4-C5 and C6-C7 fused. I'm so scared. I'm wondering if anyone out there has had a similar experience? I had a terrible time with post-op pain last time. The nursed did not manage my pain well at all when I was in the hospital. I would be literally screaming before they would come in and give me a shot of something. I had one nurse say, "You've just had major surgery. You are going to have some pain." Like there was nothing they could do! Needless to say I'm terrified of going through a similar experience. I'm only 41 years old and I have 5 relatively young children. My mom and sister will be coming out to help take care of me. I have a wonderful husband but it's so hard to take care of all the kids and me. How long should I expect to be recovering? The docs always underestimate things like that. I know I"ll have to have a hard collar for at least 6 weeks. The thing that is so worrisome is that this degeneration of the discs above and below the fusion may just continue and I could be going in for surgery every few years! I don't want this to be my life. I have too many people depending on me to take care of them. I'm feeling so discouraged. Thank you for any thoughts.

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Old 10-13-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
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Re: having another ACDF and scared!

You are a young woman (only 41). Howcome you need a neck surgery?

I can tell you, that if you had a whiplash then the surgery won't take the pain away.
It's called intractable pain. Muscle pain-----pain that never goes away.

Old 10-14-2012, 06:10 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2012
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kvolf HB User
Re: having another ACDF and scared!

I do not have whiplash, thank God. The reason I'm having surgery is that the discs above and below my existing fusion have broken down. I now have two more ruptured discs with significant spinal cord compression, muscle weakness in left arm and shoulder, and poor motor skills in my left hand. Part of one of my discs has actually broken off and has lodged in the space next to the spinal cord. Yes, I'm young which is why this is so concerning.

Old 10-14-2012, 10:38 AM   #4
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Re: having another ACDF and scared!

Kvolf - There's been a long debate about "Adjacent Disk Syndrome", where fusing one level puts more pressure on adjacent levels and causes them to break down. It is not clear how much of a concern this may be. Studies have shown that the percentage of adjacent-level problems that need surgery are low enough (and the time they take to develop is long enough) that it could be argued that what looks like causation is really more a matter of correlation... that is, that adjacent levels break down FOR THE SAME REASON as the inner level, not BECAUSE the inner level broke down.

Whatever side of this argument you take, the fact that two levels broke down only two years after another was fused, that it's happening to someone so young, and that all the levels herniated (rather than just bulged) means that something unusual is going on. Either your disks are, for some reason, very weak, or there is (or was, at some time) an unusual amount of pressure on them.

I'm sorry that I can't offer a brighter prognosis. I hope that you can get a handle on what the problem is. Of course - you never know - the disk degeneration could stop at this point and never trouble you again.

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