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4 Level ACDFon 5/28


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Old 05-29-2013, 01:25 AM   #1
MattDMc
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4 Level ACDFon 5/28

After 1 posterior lamemectomy back in 1993 and putting off a two level fusion for almost 15 years, my problems have finally gotten to the point that I need a 4 level (C3-4, 4-5, 5-6 and 6-7) ACDF.

I will be having surgery on 5/31. Hoping the timing works out as the 30th is also my last day with my current employer. Doc says 2-3 month recovery with 8-10 weeks of wearing the hard brace and bone growth stim 4 hours a day. Fortunately I am getting a severance package that will last almost 3 months and am hoping all goes well and I can find a new job soon after (IT).

Does this sound like a reasonable recovery. I researched the doc and he was rated in the top 10 for the DFW area for Neurosurgeons for several years. Not sure if that is really significant or not. He and his staff seem very knowledgeable / informative / helpful. He originally thought it would be a 2 level minimum from the MRI but was concerned that the other two levels were blurred due to having a large, muscular neck (some fat too. lol). He had me get a Myleogram and CT to get a better picture. Once he reviewed the readings and looked at them himself he determined that (radiologist stated moderate to severe stenosis and foraminal narrowing on all 4 levels). So the doc was like ok the other two are worse than the MRI showed. Felt that while two (middle) of the 4 are not as bad, they are bad enough to warrant not having two seperate surgeries possibly a year apart.

I feel pretty comfortable with the Doc and his assessment. I was thinking about posting on my recovery here. I had two opinions years ago stating I needed two level for sure(one was a Neuro and one was an Ortho). I have switched within the last two weeks from smoking regular cigs (20 plus years, pack a day) to the electronic cigs with little to no nicotine level. Hoping to wean off all together. Any comment and or advice before I go in? I already looked at the sticky thread on stuff to get post surgery. Recliner should be showing up tomorrow. I apologize for any spelling errors.

 
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:46 AM   #2
MattDMc
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Re: 4 Level ACDFon 5/28

So I had the procedure done on 31 May and I am now 5 days post op. I seemed to have tolerated the procedure well. I walked from my ICU room to my regular room on Sunday June 2nd which surprised the nurses on the regular room floor . I was released back into the wild on Monday afternoon (June 3rd).

All 4 levels were removed and replaced with a synthetic spacer and my own cells (cells not bone chip removed from my hip) and cage. He found the C6-5 and C6-7 discs were actullly ruptured once he had me opened up versus only seeing moderate to severe stynosis. He was able to do a horizontal incision (about 4 inches). Surgery took about 8.5 hours.

I did projectile vomit in the ICU room and chased the nurses out. Felt really bad about that part, one nurses ran out and the other ducked behind me using a clip board as a shield. He did tell me later on after I was all cleaned up that it was pretty darn impressive. I managed to hit 3 of the 4 walls in the room.. Other than that, swallowing was and continued to be pretty horrible through yesterday. Getting slightly better. I lived on the pain pump the first 24 hours but relaxed it the next day. Used like 42 mg day one and only 8 the next two days. Got up and started walking as soon as I could. The getting up part was the worst, rolling over and sitting was hard on the inscision area. Walking was fine and got easier the more I did it. I seem to only be in any real pain now after I wake up from a couple hours of sleeping. Everything feels tight and even my throat hurts a lot more. After moving around for 15-30 minutes it is pretty acceptable.

Arm and hand numbness and tingling pretty much gone right after surgery. Wearing the neck brace 24/7 is irritating but liveable. Got a cheap recliner at wallmart that said it was oversized (it wasnt) to try and sleep in. If anything major changes i will post. Good luck to everyone who has had this done or is looking forward to having it done.

 
Old 06-05-2013, 11:59 AM   #3
ifeelyurpain
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Re: 4 Level ACDFon 5/28

Glad to hear you're doing okay and its over with. I was told on Monday that I need ACDF on C4 C5 due to large herniated disc compressing cord. I also have degeneration/ bone spurs at 2 other levels but not bad enough for surgery....yet. I'm searching right now for another surgeon (2nd opinion).

That whole vomiting thing just freaks me out. I've read numerous other accounts of people doing that. I can't imagine vomiting after just having your neck cut open and your throat is swollen......I'm afraid of choking to death!!!

Anyway....stay strong and I wish you a speedy recovery!!!

 
Old 06-09-2013, 03:05 AM   #4
MattDMc
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Re: 4 Level ACDFon 5/28

The vomiting thing wasnt as bad for me. I had alreayd had some water and a couple of grape popcicles and a little jello so there was plenty to come up with no dry heaving and it was all sweet. The hard part was on the nurses who had to get me all cleaned up and linens changed etc.. Very commendable job on their part, very quick and treated me really nicely after I threw up on them. Very professional crew the whole time I was there! My wife brought some muffins specifically for my ICU nurses as a little thank you from both of us to them. Thank goodness that was the only time I felt nausia. I guess it was the effects of the anesthesia wearing off and taking 2 narcos w/ tylenol on a pretty empty stomach. I can tell you this, wearing the brace and trying to hold the puke bucket to your mouth does not do very well. there is no effective way to position it unless you are sitting almost staight up (like in a chair).

Ifeelyurpain... Try not to stress it too much. Get a second opinion and go with yout gut on one you feel most comfortable with. I specically asked for a Nuerosurgeon instead of an Orthopedic surgeon. No specific reason other than I figure I would trust a nerve guy over a bone guy for spinal / nerve related issues. Try and look up your surgeons and see if there are any reviews on them out there.

 
Old 06-09-2013, 03:27 AM   #5
MattDMc
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Re: 4 Level ACDFon 5/28

So it is now 8 day after my 4 level ACDF. Still sucking down pain pills and Flexeril. My dosage was set at 10 mg hydrocodone (vicodin) with 350 mg tylenol, take 2 of those evefry 4-6 hours. Plus flexeril one 3 times a day. I was taling them every 4 hours, now I am taking them every 6-7 hours. I think tomorrow I will start with 1 every four hours to cut the dosage in half. I was going to start that yesterday but I walked 1.5 miles that day and it was too much at one time. My wife keeps yelling at me to slow it down and let it take its time , after the last two days of overdoing it I am starting to see the light of her observations LOL. I keep forgetting that it has only been a day over a week since the surgery and only 4 days out of the hostpital.

So the PAIN... New one has shown up, when I am laying flat and try to shift at the hips in a certain direction, I am getting a sharp shooting pain down my right thigh to my knee and calf. I had this before for a very short time but it went away on its own. I am kind of thinking its because pretty much the whole C-Spine is swollen right now and that is just a side effect. My first follow up is on the 13th. I am being careful to not move that way to prevent the pain. If I can contain it until my followup on the 13th I will mention it to the doc. Im not having any othe tingling or pain associated in the leg except for that.

I do find that moving around seems to help the over all pain ans tightness, it always hurtst he worst after i wake up from laying down or get up from sitting in front of the computer for too long. It does seem to decreasing in intensity so I am happy about that. I am hoping to be off the pain meds within the next two weeks at least on a regular basis. I have always tolerated pain well over the years becuase I am always paranoid about getting addicted to the pain meds. So I tend to use them sparingly as soon as I can tolerate the pain. Plus I like having a stash of them for future use when I need them, that has saved me several trips to see a doc over the years.

 
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