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  • myelopathy after ACDF

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    Old 03-31-2003, 01:59 PM   #1
    2MnyHats
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    Question myelopathy after ACDF

    I'm wondering if anyone can offer me any personal experiences with persistent cervical myelopathy following an Anterior Cervical discectomy/fusion. I made a quick climb to walking with a walker a week after surgery but now, almost 3 months out, I still require my wheelchair at least half the time.

    My symptoms are weakness in the lower extremeties, some spasticity, some muscle rigidness in my ankles which makes walking difficult. I have some symptoms in my upper extremities as well (finger drift, clumsiness, shaking) but these I can handle. I'm just wondering if this is the best it gets!


     
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    Old 03-31-2003, 02:31 PM   #2
    joprud
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    Hi 2MnyHats,

    I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I'm afraid I can't offer any help but please be assured the experts will be along soon. They are truly a wonderful group of people and are always very helpful and knowledgeable. (not to mention very funny. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/jester.gif )

    I did want to Welcome you aboard and wish you all the best in finding some relief from your symptoms.

    Take Care,
    Joanne

    ------------------
    • Sept‘63,fall on back on stairs,compression fractures of T6 and T8
    • 1993 X-ray Diagnosed DDD
    • Nov,2002 MRI C4-C5 posterior osteophytic bar effacing ventral thecal sac, stenosis of neural foramina.C5-C6 posterior disc protrusion effacing VTS. Stenosis of neural foramina.C6-C7 posterior disc herniation effacing VTS.stenosis of neural foramina.C7-T1perineural cysts in both neural foramina.left convex scoliosis mid thoracic spine.wedging of T7. wedging of T5.degen.end plate changes at T8-T9. L4-L5 diffuse disc bulge effacing VTS.hypertrophy of facet joints,central spinal stenosis.L5-S1 posterior disc protrusion with associated tear of annulus fibrosis. hypertrophy of facet joints.S1-S2 Perineural cysts involving S1-S2 nerve roots.
    • So far have tried: meds,physio,accupuncture all to no avail.

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 07:22 AM   #3
    Debbie2
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    Hi too many hats... I have a old (she's not old) from the board who no longer can post. But I do remember her saying so much about this, because it was exactly what she had.

    I know she said myelopathy takes 6 months to a year to recover from. Not everyone recovers... Physical therapy will help, and you have to try HARD at it. Also, there are tricks to re-learning balance that will help, and PT will help that as well. Please, do NOT to give up hope. She has so many complication and is so strong willed, I know it will produce positive results for her.
    Know that it is a long hard recovery... much worse than the regular acdf. Myelopathy is a serious thing. Also..... after 5 months, she still has problems that are directly related to the amount of activity she does. Too much, and you will definitely suffer for it, so EASY does it!! Heat helps... long hot baths, heating pads and massage. That was what she always said... and she knew so much
    Debbie


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    Debbie2
    ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
    September 4, 2002.
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    ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
    September 4, 2002.

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 07:30 AM   #4
    winged phantom
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    2MnyHats,
    Just wanted to stop in and say "Hi" . Debbie seems to have a pretty good answer- much better than any I can offer. I hope you have good therapists who can help you with these problems. Have a good day.
    wr
    __________________
    • 12/29/89 C5-6 Microdiskectomy (no fusion)
    • 4/9/03 ACDF C4-7 with plating and donor bone

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 07:43 AM   #5
    2MnyHats
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    Thanks Debbie and to all for the encouragement. I have resigned myself to this being a long process. I doing an exercise routine 2X a day but I like your friend, find that my too much activity results in setbacks. I like long hot baths so needless to say our water/gas bill is also screaming! Debbie- do you know if your friend is still using a wheelchair or is she able to walk ok?
    Thanks again

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 08:45 AM   #6
    melanie dawn
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    HI 2ManyHats,
    Great name, I love it. Well , about the myelopathy. I too have it. I have not had my surgery yet. There are so many variables. One of the most important is , how long were you symptomatic before your surgery?
    and how advanced were your symptoms? I know in my case I have been symptomatic for over 2 years. The surgeon would not even give me an estimate of return of function because of the length of time. I read somewhere that surgery in the first 6 mo. can bring on up to 80-90% return, but after two years no-one knows how much return, for me he said the goal was to stop the progression. Unfortunately Debbie was right, the recovery can be long and difficult. Especially if you had high grade myelopathy with advanced symptoms. What were your symptoms pre surgery? And what surgery did you have?
    Debbie already told you many of the things that help, be strong and patient, much can be done to rebuild endurance and strength, but it takes time and commitment without overdoing it.
    I am awaiting my surgery, and have many of the issues you are dealing with. The stiff ankles really do make it tough to walk. It's like the tendon in the back of the ankle is spactic anad tight , has no flexability left. Keep your chin up, our bodies are complicated and individual, we all recover and react a little differently.
    Pop in and keep us posted, don't forget to vent, whine, crack jokes and generally share with us, you have found a great group of supportive and wonderful people. Welcome!!!
    Take care of yourself, Mel
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 09:42 AM   #7
    2MnyHats
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    Thanks Mel for the info and encouragement! My symptoms began about 2 years ago with very mild pain in the back right below my shoulder blade and intermittent spells of weakness in my legs. I guess looking back I also noticed some decrease in my fine motor skills and also balance while standing. My primary physician (he's very good) sent me to a neurologist who after doing a 1 minute exam (basically none) he determined this was stress and offered to send me to counseling. I have never had a stress problem before. My primary doctor and I both knew this was a cop out. I continued with this pattern of intermittent weakness until late December of this year when the pain under my shoulder blade became knifelike. I went to the ER...guess what...no radiologic studies were done. The back pain relented by itself within 2 weeks only to be followed by profound weakness. I could only walk if my husband "dragged" me. This was followed by severe spasticity and clonus. I went to the ER again and the neurologist they consulted took notice and ordered the MRI. My surgury was January 10, 2003. It was and Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion of C5/6. I have spastic toes that seem to want to curl under and a spastic rt quad but only the outside muscle. My rehab doctor says the stiff ankles that "lock" up are atypical for spasticity. But...they weren't there before all this happened! I tend to be atypical anyway!
    What is causing your myelopathy? What kind of surgery are you awaiting. My surgery was actually a piece of cake...it's the aftermath that's a bother!

    I'm very sorry that you are going through something so similar but I must say it is nice to chat with someone who understands.
    Feel free to email anytime.

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 10:54 AM   #8
    Debbie2
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    Hey 2mnyhats,

    She now only uses a cane for long distances and on uneven ground... to keep her balance . After a lot of activity, she use it for support too! It does however, really tear up her arm and shoulders! She should use the walker, but is too stubborn. She is one of the strongest willed people I know, very determined. On occassion she will use a wheelchair but that is RARE (again her being stubborn) at like a shopping mall or perhaps when she needs to go to the airport, and stuff like that.

    She was just recently reassured by one of her Drs. that it is a very LONG process and he easily expected her to take the 5 months to get to where she is. He said her progress was fantastic!
    She wants more progress that is for sure, but she is really where she should be... so are you too most likely, so just be reassured of that

    Glad to help, but it's her, all her that is the angel of a friend in my life. Not to mention, an inspiration.
    Debbie



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    Debbie2
    ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
    September 4, 2002.
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    Debbie2
    ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
    September 4, 2002.

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 11:06 AM   #9
    2MnyHats
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    Thanks Debbie. It sounds like your friend really is making progress! Please wish her my best and let her know that she is not alone!

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 12:39 PM   #10
    melanie dawn
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    HI 2mnyhats,
    I am awaiting a 3 level ACDF from C4-7 with plating etc. At first they were going to do 5 level psterior and remove the bone and implant rods and a cage etc. I am having the lesser done now, but with the knowledge that at some point I will need more surgery.Mine all started with a car accident, herniated the discs, which are now pressing on spinal cord. I am glad you found this board, everyone is so supportive, it is agreat place to vent and get and information.
    Mel
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 01:29 PM   #11
    2MnyHats
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    Hi Mel-
    Wow it sounds like your ordeal is quite complicated. I'm glad they have you scheduled for surgery though, since we both know it won't go away by itself!
    The anterior approach scared me when they first mentioned it but afterward I had no incisional pain and very little discomfort (some slight neck/shoulder pain and some trouble swallowing). These were both temporary and lasted only a week or so.
    My rehab doctor said that activity should help spasticity but I find that the more I do, the more my muscles spasm. He says I have an atypical movement disorder of unknown etiology. Duh...I didn't have this before the disk rupture!!! Needless to say I'm relying mostly on my primary doctor and the PT people who are very good medical professionals. I'm a Respiratory Therapist and sometimes wonder if I didn't know the right questions to ask...where would I be then! I am really glad to have found this message board! It is a great source of support!

     
    Old 04-01-2003, 08:56 PM   #12
    Niki47
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    Hi guys... trying to post again. It has been awhile, and may not go thru. Boo Hiss. If so tho, know that I am out here and will help as I can.

    Latest MRI shows Post Traumatic damage and/or syrinx at c-7, so I am back to the nuerosurgeon Thursday. Man... it just doesn't seem to stop!!

    Mel, glad you are here to give a hand to the myelopathy folks!! You have "come a long way Baby"..lol You guys listen to her! She is getting to be an old pro!! Smile

    Niki47

     
    Old 04-02-2003, 04:05 AM   #13
    Debbie2
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    Niki, I'm so excited that you're here.... yippee!
    Debbie

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    Debbie2
    ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
    September 4, 2002.
    __________________
    Debbie2
    ACDF fusion (c5c6) with titanium plate and screws using donor bone -
    September 4, 2002.

     
    Old 04-02-2003, 05:32 PM   #14
    melanie dawn
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    Niki, so happy to see you here. Welcome back, we've really missed. I am soooo happy that you are here!!!!
    Mel
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 04-02-2003, 05:47 PM   #15
    bdb
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    I'm another one with myelopathy. I had my ACDF C5-6 a year ago and I'm still having problems so I am off to the surgeon next week to find out what is what. My problems stem from a herniated disk from a car accident 2 and 1/2 years ago.
    bdb

    [This message has been edited by bdb (edited 04-02-2003).]

     
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