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    Old 03-03-2003, 08:38 AM   #1
    Mellie888
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    Post acdf with cage

    Hi,

    I'm new to this board and I'm very glad I found it! I have learned a lot!

    I am currently three weeks post-op from surgery on a ruptured disc at C5. It started on January 16th and I had surgery on February 6th, because of severe weakness in my arm. I had a cage put in as well, I was wondering if anyone else has had a cage with a plate too? Is it supposed to be better for the fusion.

    I am also happy to report that most of my symptoms have subsided and I am currently going to physical therapy, which is helping a lot!

     
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    Old 03-03-2003, 12:38 PM   #2
    BWL
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    Hi Mellie-

    Glad to hear you doing so well. The use of a cage provides a method of utilizing your own bone in the graft without the chronic pain associated with a traditional harvest. Instead of using hard bone, the surgeons make a small window into the bone and remove soft bone which is placed into the cage and your body does the rest.

    I went back and forth between using a cage or donor bone and wound up with the latter. Different approaches for different people.

    What type of things are you doing in PT?

    BWL

    ------------------
    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)
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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

     
    Old 03-03-2003, 12:51 PM   #3
    Mellie888
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    Hi,

    Thanks for responding. With my surgery my surgeon used a donor bone and a cage and a plate. I just didn't know if that was common practice.

    I just got back from PT. All it is right now is trigger points and trying to strengthen up my right arm which was severely effected by the ruptured disc. I'm not so sure how I feel about it. Whenever I leave PT, I have some pain and I don't like that. But, I guess that's the way it goes.

    Hope all is well with you.

    Mellie

     
    Old 03-03-2003, 07:35 PM   #4
    BWL
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    Mellie-

    These cages are all the rage and it's a great concept. I was so upset/nervous my first night home from the hospital that as I lay trying to fall asleep I designed a titanium plate system with locking screws in my mind. (I was afraid the plate or screws would come out). The next night as I lay in bed I found a flaw in my design. I am not an engineer, but I think this stuff is pretty neat. I wonder if I'm too old for a career change.

    I actually made a note to call my doctor tomorrow because of you. My surgery was on 1/29 after my disk ruptured 12/17. I too lost a great deal of strength in my arm and while I can hold my arm up and even write now, my tricep is incredibly weak. I've wanted to start PT a couple of weeks back, but he was not too excited about the idea. I am allowed to do some 2-4lb dumbbell tricep work at home, but my patience is running a little thin.

    It's a strange feeling - my left arm is stronger than my usually dominant right.

    Where is your pain following PT? Do you have any tingling or numbness in your fingers?

    Feel good
    Bruce

    ------------------
    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

    [This message has been edited by BWL (edited 03-03-2003).]
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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

     
    Old 03-04-2003, 05:14 AM   #5
    Mellie888
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    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for the reply! So are you saying that the cage is a good thing? I'm still not sure, but I certainly felt like you, afraid the screws would come loose. In fact, after surgery I wouldn't do anything that I thought would jeopardize my neck. I wouldn't let me kids come near me for fear that they would jump on me or something. I'm fine now, and I'm a lot more comfortable.

    I did have some pain after physical therapy yesterday, but not too bad. My right arm is my dominant arm and my left arm is stronger. I'm slowly regaining strength, and my physical therapists believes I will regain all of it. I originally had gone to an ortho and he told me there was a 30% chance of me not regaining full strength, which really scared me. I don't believe that not and my neurosurgeon doesn't believe it either. The physical therapist said it is going to take months.

    Let me know how you are doing?

    Thanks again for the reply.

    Mellie

     
    Old 03-04-2003, 03:31 PM   #6
    BWL
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    Hi Mellie-

    Hope you're feeling well. We're pretty much in the same boat down to the symptoms. I'm a little nervous about the strength returning, hence my frustration in having to wait a little longer to start PT.

    I'm mentally more comfortable too, but that first week or two I was terrified I would do something wrong. I remember a single tremendous cough as soon as I got home from the hospital. I just stood there thinking, oh my g_d, what did I just do?! Apparently nothing.

    I almost got into a fender bender in a cab this morning. No more! Subway only!
    ALl I have to worry about is my cat getting under my feet. Kids are not an issue.

    I feel like I've taken a couple of steps backwards the last two days. I've had some increased nerve pain in both of my arms and my neck is sore. I think I've done too much and the nerves are a tad inflammed. I'll take it easier the next few days. Drag is I have to visit a client in CT this week (I'm too chicken too drive) and just the journey can be tiring.

    have a lovely evening

    Bruce

    ------------------
    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)
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    Old 03-05-2003, 04:51 AM   #7
    Mellie888
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    Hi Bruce,

    Did you get my last message?

    Mellie

     
    Old 03-05-2003, 05:06 AM   #8
    BWL
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    Hi Mellie,

    Last mesage from you was 3/4, well, plus the one asing me if I got your last message.

    What did I miss?

    Bruce

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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)
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    Old 03-05-2003, 05:20 AM   #9
    Mellie888
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    Hi,

    I was in the city yesterday. I'm from CT and my friend drove (went to go see Emeril Live,FUN!). I couldn't make it through the metal detector without it going off, luckily I had my scar to show them. Anyway, I was a nervous wreck telling her not to drive over potholes, etc. She did stop short a few times, but it wasn't bad at all.

    We went to a Mexican restaurant and I saw this man with a cervical collar, I asked him what happened. Herniated disc at C7, he looked like he was in terrible pain! He is avoiding surgery at all costs, I told him to reconsider. It was strange how I ran into him.

    The other thing is, when I go to physical therapy she tells me basically what my limitations are and what I should and shouldn't be doing. It really helps a lot. She also is very encouraging. When do you think you will be starting physical therapy?

    I wanted to ask you another question...In reading this message board, I noticed that a lot of the people had more than one surgery. I was alittle concerned that by fixing one disc, it would put wear and tear and the other discs and that I would eventually require another surgery. Have you found that? Just wondering!

    Take care,

    Mellie

     
    Old 03-05-2003, 05:38 AM   #10
    BWL
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    Hi Mellie-

    This is much more fun than going to work. I called a meeting for 9:30 so I still have time, although I wish I didn't have to go out in the rain.

    Were you tired from your trip to the city? How did you feel when you got home? I still get tired very very easily.

    That's interesting that you set off a metal detector. My doc didn't think I would, but I've been looking for one to test. Maybe the library or I can just walk from my office down to the courts in lower Manhattan. It would be fun to explain that I have no business there, just testing.

    I am going to speak with my surgeon's office this week about PT for one of the very reasons you mention. I want someone more involved in my healing, telling me what I should and shouldn't do etc. Hopefully, I'l start very soon.

    People on these boards have had multiple surgeried for lots of reasons some being much more serious than what we've just been through. Regarding us single level ACDF folks, there is an ongoing debate that argues that fusion causes more stress to be placed on the disks immediately above and below the fused area. Logically the argument makes some sense, but I haven't found any studies to confirm the opinion.

    I wouldn't and try not to stress about it. Too many factors are beyond our control. Best advice I was given was to stay fit and strengthen back and ab muscles for additional support. Good posture is also beneficial. I have degenerative disk disease (so they say) so I'm just doing my best (almost) to take care of myself to prevent this from happening again.

    I'm off to the rain and a hot cup of coffee. Have a great day and spea later. :Wave:
    Bruce

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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)
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    Old 03-05-2003, 08:25 AM   #11
    Mellie888
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    Hi Bruce,

    I'm am totally exhausted from going into the city yesterday, however, it was worth it. I'm sore too, my right hand started to hurt today. I have to ask the therapist about that. I started therapy two weeks after surgery, that sounds soon, but I guess my neuro knows what he is talking about. At least I hope he does.

    I have a six week follow-up on April 2nd, he has yet to ask for an x-ray. Should I call the office and make sure he's going to take an x-ray? How is he going to know that the fusion is going well?

    Anyway, stay dry!

    Mellie

     
    Old 03-05-2003, 09:17 AM   #12
    SORENECKMAN
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    BWL:
    Thanks for the great information.. I was wondering if the surgery would cause other problems for some other disc;s .. I have small ruptures at c3/4 and had a severe one at c/6/7. The c6/7 herniation was very severe about 7 years ago but after about 2 or 3 months the disc problem resolved itself. The pain subsided and the strength returned to my left arm. I am afraid that the ACDF on c 5/6 would put strain on my c6/7. Well I guess time will tell.
    MRI OF C 6/7 SHOWS no herniation at all at this time so I know that these things sometimes heal themselves.
    In this weather my upper back and arm definetly hurts worse than the other drier days we ve had since my operation.
    Thanks
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    Old 03-05-2003, 11:34 AM   #13
    BWL
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    Mellie-

    Forgive me, but I feel a little better knowing you're exhausted from your excursion into the city yesterday. I thought I was wimping out as I tend to still tire easily. I posted elsewhere that I just walked home from work which is about two miles and I'm wiped. That used to be a nothing walk for me.

    You and SOreneckman both have your follow-up visits coming up. On my first post-op visit the doc did some neuro tests and gave me a scrip for x-rays that I'll have taken prior to my next visit in about 3 weeks. That will be the pics they use to check for initial fusion. I must admit, I'm a little nervous about that one. Good fusion that is.

    Soreneckman-most of my questions for the doc were about what I should and shouldn't do. More comfort questions. The nature of nerves and how they heal can be frustrating so I wasn't asking him about my little tingles just yet.

    Mellie- Excuse the self-promotion, but April 2 is a big day not just because of your doctor's visit, but also because it's my 40th birthday. I decided to celebrate early by having major surgery for an age-related degenerative disease.

    Cheers
    Bruce

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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

    [This message has been edited by BWL (edited 03-05-2003).]

    [This message has been edited by BWL (edited 03-05-2003).]
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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

     
    Old 03-05-2003, 12:54 PM   #14
    Mellie888
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    Hi Bruce,

    I turn 40 this year too, almost six months to the day you turn 40. HA!

    Do you think I should call my doctor and make sure he is going to do x-rays before my visit or should I assume he knows what he is doing. This whole thing happened so fast, (it was the same for you, right?) I went to see the neuro on Mon. and had surgery Thurs., I barely had time to ask questions or anything. Very naive and ignorant on my part.

    Talk about exhasting, I actually took a nap this afternoon. I feel that burning between my shoulder blades I haven't felt in a while. And now I'm off to physical therapy. I hope that's all I hurt!

    Mellie

     
    Old 03-05-2003, 01:09 PM   #15
    BWL
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    Mellie-

    Enjoy those 39 1/2 years they are some of the best!

    Yes, my surgery was fairly quick too although we both seem to be faster than most and our cases sound quite similar. Someone asked me today, what in hindsight would I have done differently. I told him that I would have asked for my surgery 3-4 weeks earlier. My own research has shown me that "in my case" the rupture was so extreme there was no chance of the eipdurals working and the neurologist should have known that. Just a waste of time and I believe a bad call by my neurologist (excuse me, ex-neurologist).

    This is your first post-op visit, yes? If, so I don't think the bother with x-rays until around 6+ weeks out. They want to give some time to the fusion.

    I know that shoulder blade burn, it is not fun, but I bet PT is a blast. Be careful.

    Bruce


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    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)
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