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questions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Last week I was told I needed a 3 level fusion C 4-5, C 5-6, C 6-7. I must tell you I was totally unprepared for this diagnosis for a number of reasons but mainly because my neurologist didn't even think I needed pain meds (which I did) and he cautioned me about any type of surgery when he he saw the appointment that my primary made with the neurosurgeon for a week later.

I am usually the person that goes with others to the doctor to ask the questions, I am always prepared and inqusitive. The only thing I could do was cry so I didn't hear much at all except the repeated warning of the inability to swallow after surgery and possibly living on soft food for the rest of my life. Has this happened to anyone here? Do they have to go in through the front of the nneck?

I am going to go for a second opinion and maybe take that person as my new doctor. I did some research on the first doctor I saw and he is not a board certified neurosurgeon but is a board certified surgeon and able to apply for certification as a neurosurgeon. He has 8 years experience.

I have read many posts on the board looking for information over the past few days but using the computer is painful. So please excuse me if I ask questions that have been answered before. I truly appreciate people sharing their experiences. I know that everyone is different but have found the information shared here so helpful.

My questions are:
What was the recovery like as far as time in the hospital and how long were you out of work? How physically limited were you after the surgery?

How long in a hard cast or soft cast? Did you go to PT afterward?

I am from the Boston area and went to Lahey has anyone gone to Beth Israel, Baptist or MGH or elsewhere for this surgery?

My 13 year old daughter is sick of me being in pain and unable to do things. Anyone else experience this?

Thanks
Linda
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Comments

  • I went to MGH to have a five level lumbar fusion.

    Dick
    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Hi, Sagethyme.

    I know exactly how you feel. I started having upper back pain last April and it turned out to be muscle spasms due to some hernated disks, bone spurs, and arthritis. I went to physical therapy until the PT said he couldn't do any more for me, then did exercises at home. Didn't work. So my doc send me for an MRI and told me that it was very bad and send me to a NS. When I consulted with him, he said he could try epidural injections, but the fact was that it wasn't a matter of IF I would have surgery, but WHEN.

    I had never stayed in a hospital before and was simply terrified of the thought of surgery. Of course, this forum helped a lot, but I was still very scared.

    Well, I had surgery on Oct. 21 and I can tell you that, for me, the anticipation was worse than the surgery and post-surgery.

    My surgery was at 8:30am and I was on my way home by 12:30pm next day. I didn't have the throat problems that some experience and in fact was eating a pork chop the night I was home. I probably won't be going back to work until early to mid-December, but some people have gone back sooner. I probably could go back sooner, but with my 3-lvl I want to be sure to take it slow. I was 24/7 in a hard collar (except for showering) and did need help for the first couple of weeks. I'm now on both hard and soft collar. However, as far as the collar is concerned, each surgeon is different. There are some surgeons out there that don't like to use a collar at all. Personally, I'd be scared not to have one on, especially with a 3-lvl.

    Anyway, that's my story. I hope it helps. Oh, yeah, I should tell you that I felt relief in the recovery room after surgery. I had almost lost use of my left arm and it was 100% right after surgery and still is.

    Good luck and be sure to use SH for support. You'll be fantastic! >:D<
  • Dick

    You said you had a 5 level at MGH but you didn't mention your experience. I hope you are well and if you can share some information about your experience please do. I would love to hear about it.

    Linda
  • Well, I had surgery on Oct. 21 and I can tell you that, for me, the anticipation was worse than the surgery and post-surgery.>>

    Thank you so much! I read one of your posts and realized that you would be having the same surgery and tried to locate your posts. I don't know if there is a way to track people's posts, if so please tell me.

    I am getting comfortable with the fact that more than likely I will need surgery. I am going to a second opinion on December 26th. It was the first day that the NS had an opening, actually he had a few. I was able to pic a time but hope that I get called earlier for a cancellation. I am in pain. The problem with pain is that it isn't visable to others like a broken leg or arm etc. Thanks for sharing and good luck.
  • Well, I had surgery on Oct. 21 and I can tell you that, for me, the anticipation was worse than the surgery and post-surgery.>>

    Thank you so much! I read one of your posts and realized that you would be having the same surgery and tried to locate your posts. I don't know if there is a way to track people's posts, if so please tell me.

    I am getting comfortable with the fact that more than likely I will need surgery. I am going to a second opinion on December 26th. It was the first day that the NS had an opening, actually he had a few. I was able to pic a time but hope that I get called earlier for a cancellation. I am in pain. The problem with pain is that it isn't visable to others like a broken leg or arm etc. Thanks for sharing and good luck.
  • Linda,

    Sorry I didn't respond sooner, I somehow missed the post. At Mass General Hospital, the Neurosurgery Department is unique to say the least. The head of the dept. oversees all the residents. Each resident team has a six year resident as the head. Many of these residents are already board certified surgeons in other areas. My forst surgery in 2006 was an emergency done at midnight so I didn't have any pre surgery appointments to get to know the doctors. My 2 surgeries in 2007 were different. I was operated on by the head resident for my posterior fusion. He's the one who put in alll the nuts and bolts. For my anterior fusion, I had the head of the Neuro department. All my post surgery visits were done at the Thursday clinic at Mass General. I would see different residents but I had met them all while I was in the hospital. Overall, I had a great experience from the doctors to the nurses.

    Dick
    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • I am from Mass as well, and Boston is one of THE best places you can go for specialists and healthcare. I live in Western, MA, and everyone gets sent down to Boston. Lol.
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