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Swallowing-----After ACDF Surgery

mrleemmrlee Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
To all who have had Cervical Surgery. I had a four level fusion with hardware (C2,-C6) on Sept 25, 2008. I was told that I would have a very sore throat for 2-3 days and that I would have less motion in my neck after surgery.

It has been 3 months and 3 weeks since and I am still having problems swallowing. I have had a barrium swallow test that showed OK, Then I was told to see an Ears, nose and throat Dr. She performed a fibroscopic exam through both nostrils. Said my vocal cords were ok but saw amount of mucus below vocal cords which is indicative of an infection coming from somewhere. Also saw red spots below vocal cords. The Dr. suggested that I increase Protonics to twice a day and take a Zantac once a day. Well that did not help. Still can't swallow food without chasing each bite with liquids or regurgatating food back up. Next, was the order for a Modified Barrium Swallow test with Radiologist and a Speech Pathologist. Was told by both of these Professionals that everything looked ok. Food appears to be going down throat.(Said it could be just in my head). I saw NS today and thanks a GI doctor should scope throat. Am scheduled to see a Gastro doctor Jan 21st.

Swallowing is still a problem. Has anyone gone this long after surgery with similar problems? What do you do for this problem? Any input or thoughts will be greatly appreciated. Right now I can not swallow any type of BUNS,
chicken, meat, cakes, beans & more.


  • Hi Mrlee,
    I can certainly relate to what you are going through. I have the swallowing issues as well. My last surgery was done in June. Will be headed back to surgery on the 12th to take care of it. Although i was rather lucky that mine did show the barrium swallow test. For me it is the hardware as it is into the esophagus. I did go to a digestive disease specialist to find the issues. So i think your headed on the right track. If the surgery doesn't resolve all the problems in my situation they will scope and stretch the esophagus to fix the rest. Since your surgery was done though a anterior incision they had to move all of that to get to the spine. It is possible that you have some scar tissue causing the problems. Now what concerns me is they said there is a infection coming from somewhere. I think that needs to be investigate further. Did your Ns have copies of that information and did you ask about that. Have they checked your white blood cell count. Did the Ns say anything about how your fusing at this point. To help my problem i gave up anything with carbonation in it. Also cut my intake of caffeniene down a suggestion by the GI doctor. I also eat a very bland diet mostly all liquids which has helped tremendously. Ice cream still my best friend at this point. Let me know how you do at the GI office on the 21st and if you have other question feel free to pm me.
  • for 2 weeks but it has ended-now 4 weeks+ post-op. My problem was the difficulty swallowing as well as reflux which just made the food not want to go down and stay down due to the pressure of gas. I drank Galvsicon all the time! Like you for that 2 weeks I had to take small bites of food and chase it down with water. Once the hard lump/swelling in my neck went down a bit-it seemed to get easier for me.

    I know this does not help you but it looks like you are being proactive, so hopefully a solution will be found. I wish you luck. My surgeon said in the 2000 cervical operations he's done only 3-4 had trouble with swallowing and all those were resolved in time by other specialists. Keep the faith!
  • have they put you on antibiotics or a different one? you mentioned mucous and red spots..maybe there is an infection...just a thought!
    I had trouble swallowing for about two weeks, but occasionally find food getting stuck there.
    Hope you find the reason soon so you can feel better!
  • Dave is still having swallowing problems 6 months post ACDF. He is having the swallowing test done in a couple weeks. In his case, he had LPR reflux even before the surgery. Don't say the word infection---puts me on hyper alert!! He already went through that 2X!!

    Anyway, from what I understand, the mucus is due the the trauma from the surgery.

    Linda MI
  • Sounds like they put you through an awful lot of tests reasonably soon after surgery. I had 3 level on Sept 17 and had/have swallowing problems since. Its just now starting to get better (can finally swallow pills if I am really careful). I still drink a lot while eating and find that adding gravy/soup/mayo etc to what I eat really helps, IN the beginning the only way I could eat a sandwich was to drench it in soup and eat it that way. I am very careful to chew my food well before I try to swallow it because a few times I found myself choking on things. I have a cough that has not gone away since surgery and I joked with my doctor that I am keeping the throat lozenger companies in business since I always have a pocket full. He said don't worry till at least 6 months and then if the coughing continues he will send me to an ENT to check it out. I don't cough all the time, only a few times a day (or night) but when I cough if I don't have a drink available I find it very hard to stop. If I feel it starting sometimes I can stop it by sucking on a throat lozenger.

    I really feel bad for you that you are having so much trouble with eating. Hang in there because I believe it will get better in time. 4 level is a very big operation and the healing time can be a long time.
  • Two months ago I had to go to ER at hospital for a kidney stone. Get this, had elevated white count in blood (17.2). In urine was NO sign of bacteria, no sign of Red blood cells and no sign of white blood cells.
    Did have swelling in neck, so Dr. gave antibiotic prescription along with pain & nasuea meds for stone.

    Swelling did go down some, but, swallowing has not changed.
    Please stay in touch and will keep all updated.
  • You are right about mucus in the throat. Ears, nose, and throat Dr. said that was probably due to an infection somewhere.
    I urge you to take some kind of food that get stucks in your throat with you. Are you having a regular Barrium Swallow test or a Modified Barrium Swallow test? A regular BS checks only for liquids going down with any difficulties. Modified BS test checks for problems with differnt consistency of foods: this will be a swallow of liguid barrium followed by pudding mixed with barrium, and last a honey-ghram cookie dipped in barrium which you will chew well and swallow. This test requires a Speech Pathologist to be present and it the one who issues the Barrium with food. And then, I hope, they don't tell you it's must be in your head, everything looks good.

    Please keep in touch and I will update all about with my vist with the Gasto Dr's PA.
  • Thanks for responding, My Dr told me before sugery that the ACDF would be a piece of cake compared to Lumbar Surgery. I told him yesturday, "Boy, you were wrong!" and he agreed with me. He had problems inserting the breathing tubing down my throat before he began surgery. He said had touble with tubing tangeling up with vocal cords so he had to do alternate route AND was not able to perform nerve studies during surgery. I asked if there might be a cut nerve causing all my problems, he did not respond. I also told him that this past week that my right hand turns colder than a brick of ice followed with numbness. He said "That sounds like a cut nerve!" He did not offer a reason or a fix for this problem. I need to clarify my terminology. I did not mean to use the workd cough, I should have said regergatate by trying to cough. Please don't be discouraged by MY problems. Take good care of yourself and please stay in touch. I will update soon.

    P.S. Did your surgeon tell you that you WOULD loose some movement in your neck after surgery?
  • My surgeon told me that I had already lost most of the range of motion that I was likely to lose even before I had surgery (this is true). I put off surgery for a very long time and had a lot of damage in my neck by the time I finally had surgery. Spinal cord compression of over 40% in 2 places and badly crushed nerves that caused pain and numbness in my left hand/fingers and right hand/arm/fingers. Right now with physical therapy I find I have quite decent movement from side to side in my neck (a little hard when driving). I have very poor range of motion up and down. I can look down or up from a distance (because then you can use your eyes more then your neck) but if I try to look directly down or directly up it is nearly impossible and very painful. I find it difficult to cook things on top of the stove that need to be stirred during cooking. I expected lose of ROM but maybe not quite as much as I have lost. Maybe I will gain at least a little back during physical therapy. My doctor is very good about discussing any questions. I would go in his office with lists of typed out questions and not leave until they were answered. I still bring a list of things I want to discuss on each visit because otherwise I forget things that are important to me. Currently I see my doctor's physician assistant but I also see my doctor. This way I have the best of both worlds (someone who will spend time with me and someone who will answer any questions the PA can't answer). You should get your doctor to refer you to an EMT (ear/mouth/throat specialist). I think you said you already saw one but it must be frustrating that they can't figure out exactly what is going on. I think at this point so they can determine exactly what is going on and come up with a some suggestions for treatment.
    Good luck,
  • I had a 2 level fusion on 6-6-06, and have undergone many tests only to find out nothing! Very depressing. One thing that they DID find was that I now have Celiac Disease. It's an autoimmune disease that's triggered by stress or trauma. I had no problems before the fusion. I'm now awaiting an appointment with a neurosurgeon to see if removing the plate is an option. If I'm still going to have the same problems, I figure I'll keep the plate on. I've lost over 100lbs and I'm scared that it's gone into esphogeal cancer or something. I don't tell my family this because they just feel I'm crazy anyway. Best of luck to you!! I hope I didn't scare you, but check into the Celiac thing.
  • Hi - I had my first ACDF in Oct 08 for C5-C7 with hardware. I had trouble swallowing and feeling like I was choking for about 4 weeks. I just has the second ACDF on C4 and they removed the hardware from the first surgery and did another incision to replace the last disc and put hardware in. I had more swelling in the neck and had to stay several days in the hospital. I thought this problem with swallowing was connected to the fact that they had to manipulate my throat area twice in this past surgery removing the hardware and placing new hardware above the first site. Anyway, I identify with all the comments I've read here about the mucus developing in my throat, especially while I'm asleep, and it wakes me up coughing. Bread, pills, meat feels like it stops halfway down and I have to chase it with fluids. Carbonated drinks causes burping out loud and it's awful if we have company eating with us because I can't stop it. I'm hoping this gets better with time, but I can say that the pain in my shoulder is so much better and I can lift my arm over my head without becoming tearful. I'll keep you guys informed if anything changes with me.
  • I had carpal tunnel surgery in 2007 my arm was constantly falling asleep. The surgery helped this but did not stop my upper arms from hurting when lifting or lifting my arms above my head. Long story short I had surgery on my neck in Jan of 09 (this year) so I am post 3 months. It hasn't seemed to help. But my question is I also have burping problems I never had before and my throat seems swollen and irritated. Today seems worst then ever. It also seems like I have to gulp a lot. And I seem to irritate it more when talking. Any ideas?
  • It sounds like you need to discuss with your NS. They may refer you to a GI doctor. They may also order a Cervical CT scan to check any hardward they used for your surgery. Hope and pray everything gets better for you. Please stay in touch.
    I am awaiting to hear results from my GI doctor. I had a Esophageal Moltility Studies las Wed. Still can't swallow bread, meat, chicken, cake. Still sticks in back of throat utill washed with MANY swallows of water.
  • Well, mrlee i hope every thing goes well for all of us. I personally have not had any good effects from my surgery so far. I still have hope though. My arms are still weak. I now have problems with my throat and daily neck discomfort.
    I did call my ns today and I will be scheduled for a ct soon so maybe that will show what is going on with my throat. I am so glad I came across this site. I hate to vent but, have no one else to talk with about my concerns.. So to all of you THANK YOU !
  • Thank God for this board. I really appreciate everyone's candor and opneness about their problems. I was disappointed that there doesn;t seem to be anything that can be done about this problem but just hope and pray I'm one of the lucky ones who will only have the temporary discomfort associated with the surgery. When I had this surgey back in 1994 I did not have a plate. But it sounds like many of you think that contributes to the problem of swallowing diffculties. I thought it was just me. It has been somewhat comforting to read that this is commond problem associated with cervical fusion. I can only pray it will be be a short lived problem.
  • I am 4 months post ACDF from C5-C7.

    I am hoarse from my surgery. An ENT confirmed right vocal cord paralysis. This leads also to lightheadedness when talking, shortness of breath in basic tasks, and word "drop out" because I run out of air in speaking. I choke while swallowing now and then and have had a nearly constant hacking cough. I take (probably alarming) deep gasping breaths because my cough is so ineffective. It is exhausting just to speak, and in my job I speak a fair amount. I also have swallowing problems - the cough is definitely worse after eating and I can cough hard enough to nearly throw up. Definitely have a lot of "grunge" in my throat. I had sinus surgery recently to try and cut back on issues with post nasal drip.

    My stomach has also started bothering me - it is worse during the day and ok when I sleep. I burp and hiccup for hours at a time, even without having eaten anything.

    Oddly I am happy to hear a few similar stories (esp with the burping and such). It is very frustrating. ENT is going to consider surgical correction to the vocal cord - which may at least help make the cough productive. But he says the swallowing issue is much more difficult to deal with if it is nerve related...

    If nothing else, we're in this together!! :)
  • I had acdf c5-6 c6-7 2/07 awoke from surgery with swallowing difficulty. Reasured this would subside, I was an ER traum RN prior to his work injury. Needless to say this never got better just worse. I followed up with an ENT who did a fiboroptic scope saw severe redness, with swelling attributed it to post refulx (I have never had reflux), give meds that did nothing. After almost a year of choking unable to eat much significant weight loss & feeling like I couldn't breath at times due to pressure. I was caught in the workers comp "system" yet managed to go to a specialized ENT in NYC who did a videofluroscopy, EMG of my throat, & esophogeal manmonety. The final result was that I had a damaged nerve in my throat on the R side (where the incision was made) since it had been over a year the prognosis for further improvment was very low, I had a feeding tube put in due to dehydration & weight loss, I am 45 y/o female with 4 teenagers very active prior to all this. I insisted the feeding tube come out 8 months later due to chronic infections (because I was active & pulling on it at imes leading to problems) I have what they call "globus" the feeling something is pressing on your throat all the time, I now survive on high protien drinks, have a suction machine at home, eat small amounts of certain foods. The imaging studies also showed when I swallowed food there was a great deal of residue left in my pharynx from the loss of muscle tone. Just recently had a CT scan of my throat which now showed (was not there before) scar tissue at the incision line pushing on my esophogus. I am not sure if anything can be done, workmans comp is trying desperatly to deny this being related to the surgery. I also have chronicn arm pain, neck pain, post fusion & a new MRI shows two new herniations on at C45 above the fusion with nerve root compression on nerve root 5 & second at C7 T1 with nerver root compression at root C8. I have been through pain managment the dura space accompanied with narrowing and significant scar tissue leaves the pain managment MD refusing to do any epidural blocks which if he is that uncomfortable I don't want it done. I saw my neurosurgeon who recommends the only way for pain relife at this time is a fusion at both the other levels going in posterior, I am very hesitant yet can not live daily in so much pain. My neurosurgeon is very conservative yet after reviewing the situaion feels it is my only option, the neurological deficits in my arms are increasing. I use to work FT nights, run 40 miles a week, went to college part time to further my RN to a BSN & now due to money, pain, uncertainty of the future I feel stagnated. workers comp has been a nightmare. I wish I had researched the swallowing complicatios more, they are so much more comman then anyone thinks yet I most likely would have done it anyway. Good luck & try to be proactive in your care my barium swallow was negative as well yet the situation was much more then what a barium swallow shows.
    Tina /:)
  • hi my surgery may have been different than yours ....i had a brain tumor removered and its been 18 days now and swallowing food is hard. meat is out of the question as is soda. soda feels as of it just fizzles at the top of my throat. i practically regurgitate what i swallow and im getting tired of it.i have to gully wash everything and usually get bored eating really soon. i guess ill lose weight but i prefer to stop coughing every thing back up. i turn my head to the side breathe in through my nose so i can get air under the lodged food. this reallly sucks. my primary gave me nyostatin in hopes that will help. the neurosurgery dept. told me to increase my steroid intake if it doesnt work ill be going back down to meat with the specialist to figure out why i cant swallow food unless it is soft chased by water that is. i a will appreciate any comments as it seem were in the same shape here.

    rob macd
  • I too have swallowing problems. I'm post op 11 weeks and i can hear myself swallow, breads, meats, etc are hard and I have to chase them with liquids. I also here and there have irritation on the left side in my throat. comes and goes. Lozenges do help. these sites do help tons because you do start to think there is something very wrong. I didn't realize this was such a common problem for people.
  • :OO Oh my goodness, I am really getting scared of this upcoming surgery. I didn't realize how common the swallowing issue was.
    For those who are continuing to suffer, I am so sorry that you are in such pain and discomfort for as long as you are after surgery. I truly hope it is eliminated soon. >:D<
  • It has been1 year and 3 months past and I have problems with most food. Now I have pain down my right arm and hand, the last 2 fingers. My hands (both) turn cold as a brick of ice then they go through a pain process and then PSIN. I had nerve studies 4 weeks ago and NS said i did not have Carpal Tunnell Synd, but some other ulnar tunnell syndrome. does not want to do surgery unless pain does not go awayl. Hate to say it's getting worse. That's the reason for sloppy typing, soome time have trouble signing my name. To make make matters even worse had to go to ER for depression on Christmas Eek. Do you have any problems like this. Please update your status THANKS for listening
  • Hello everyone!

    I am a speech pathologist who treats patients who have undergone an ACDF. I typically only see those of you who have dysphagia/swallowing disorders post-op. I have been known to get a little aggressive with surgeons who tell me, "it's all in his/her head". Not so much there! It is a VERY common complication associated with this surgery and everyone needs to eat!!!

    If you feel that you are having difficulty swallowing post op, make sure that you don't eat by mouth until the medical team can properly work it up. The reason for this is if the food does not "go down the right way" it is called aspiration, which can lead to pneumonia. Usually the problem will resolve within a few weeks, but other patients find that the dysphagia can last for up to a year. In the mean time, you can get a long-term feeding tube (not our first choice, I know) until the dysphagia is lessened to the point in which you can safely eat food by mouth. Just so you know, long-term feeding tubes can be removed, so they really aren't permanent.

    Your first step should be to see a speech pathologist who can assess you at bedside (they should do this first) and then do a Modified Barium Swallow/Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study. This should tell them WHY the food isn't passing into the esophagus. Usually it is due to trauma resulting in a neurological change or narrowing of the pharynx/throat.

    Sometimes it can be treated in conjunction with the Otolaryngologist/Ear, Nose, & Throat and they can do a dilatation/widening of the space to allow for the food to pass properly. Other times, it can be a neurological issue. The recurrent laryngeal nerve is sometimes damaged in this surgery & that is the one that triggers the swallow reflex. Typically, the nerve function resolves over time.

    Some doctors are reluctant to put a speech pathologist on consult because they are afraid of blame being put on them. However, the damage that occurs is simply a risk of the surgery and typically resolves over time. You just want to be safe in the mean time and not get an aspiration pneumonia.

    Good luck out there! Find a good speech pathologist who will work with you to regain your swallow function!!!
  • My story is a long one. My neck injury started in 7/2009. I pulled my neck & back out reaching the wrong way into the dryer. Then a couple of days later I "stupidly" went on a 4-wheeler. We hit a pot hole in the grass and my life was forever changed. I went from being an active mom with 3 kids, working 2 jobs, working out at the gym 5 times a week, riding my motorcycle and also doing dance classes, recitals & competitions. Within a few weeks I ended up bed-ridden living on narcotics, muscle relaxers & endless drugs. For the first time in my life I was out of work, living in a bed, dealing with pain that was mind blowingly severe. The therapy I started 2 weeks after the injury made things worse & the swelling on my spine got worse. I had a MRI in October/2009. The first dr looked me in the eyes and said that I had no herniation's, impingement's or any issues he could see on the test. He said it was my fibro. I was at a loss. I have lived with chronic fatigue, pain, Lyme Disease, Fibro, back herniation's, hypothyroid and more. Never had I complained with all these conditions. People around me never even knew I lived with so many aliments. I layed in bed & swore to myself that it felt like I ruptured a disc in my neck & it was severely pinching a nerve. I told my husband that this was worse than my bad car wreck where I received a back injury. I kept thinking to myself, this injury needs surgery. I really did a job on myself this time. I later had another dr properly read the MRI report for me and give me a written copy. I could read for myself why I was suffering. I had a bulging C4-5, Herniated C5-7 with severe impingement at the C5-6 level. The left side nerve didn't even show on the MRI since it was being pinched so severely. I ended up very sick with kidney infections due to steroids and medicines the doctors gave me. I did therapy from the initial injury and continued to go faithfully. I had 2 epidurals in my neck and spine. I ended up having my body go crazy from the stress of the injury. I was sent to a Kidney dr for testing. I had to see my gynecologist for cysts and bleeding that didn't stop for months. No one realizes that a injury can cause such trauma to your body & disrupt the whole balance of how your system works. It wasn't until a year later of tremendous suffering did one doctor finally help me. Almost exactly one year later in 7/2010 I called my primary care dr to mention that my symptoms had gotten worse over the week. I had migraines that felt like my brain was swelling and I lost feeling on the left side of my body. I asked him what to do. I never went to an ER before in my life. I knew that they would test me for a stroke but I also knew it was my neck injury. The ER dr asked me with an attitude why I came to the hospital. She said that the ER was for serious injuries and life threatening cases. I was almost at a loss for words. I only went because my family dr said I should. I also couldn't feel the whole left side of my body. My face, arm, torso and leg were numb. I thought that would be considered urgent in the least. I am not a complainer by nature. I just suck it up and keep going. My dr said this is why I get dismissed. By the time I do complain the drs don't realize how serious things are because I have a high tolerance for pain. The ER repeatingly told me they had NO neurosurgeons to help me. The ER was going to release me with half a numb body. Both legs eventually went numb after they kept me waiting in a bed for hours. I basically told them they needed to get a wheel chair so my husband can wheel me to our car. I guess someone thought about the consequences of releasing a patient that way and called in a neurosurgeon. Where they found a neurosurgeon I don't know since they told me for over 5 hours they had none. An Physician's Assistant came to see me. He thought my numb face and head were not neck related. I asked him if I had a severe impingement on my spinal cord for over a year , could it radiate up into my head. He said that would be "a severe case, worse case". He scheduled an appointment at his office within 48 hrs of seeing me at the ER. I went prepared to "fight" my case and plead for them to remove the disc in my neck. The look on the doctors face said it all. I didn't have to plead or beg for help. He looked shocked that I was left in this condition. He said the MRI from last year and the recent ER visit was easy for him to see I had some severe injuries. He said he would have operated after 3 months of no improvement from initial injury. He said I needed a level 2 fusion with 2 plates in my neck and he scheduled emergency surgery for me. All I can say is I cried the whole ride home. I finally found someone who believed me, read the tests correctly and was going to help. I had ruptured my C5-6 on 7/25/09. I had a old ruptured degenerative C6-7 & bulging C4-5 I lived with & didn't know I had for years. So no wonder when the C-5-6 blew, I couldn't move. My surgery was on 8/6/10. They kept me in the hospital for 3 days. My swelling was so severe that they couldn't release me or get me off the morphine. It was by far the worst year of my life. I was at the ER again (10/10) after surgery with low potassium due to steroids again. It has been a long and hard road. I have had 3 sons, kidney surgery, knee reconstruction and more in my life time. No pain I ever experienced equaled that of my spinal cord being swished for over a year. I had collapsed over an inch. I am now the same height I was when I was 18 yrs old! It has been 4 months since surgery and YES I am still choking on my food. I am learning to get it up without the Heimlich maneuver. Hopefully this problem will get better as time progresses. I also have a cough from surgery that won't go away. I sound like a barking seal. These things I didn't expect. I didn't know they do a trake with this surgery or it feels like whiplash in recovery. However, it is nice to be able to feel my face and left side again. I have had no more headaches. I also have noticed that some "things" I lived with over the years was from the old C6-7 herniation. I have cut hair for a living for 20 years. I assumed dropping things, losing sensation or having my left arm go numb was from my occupation. I NEVER thought to mention those symptoms during the whole ordeal I had this past year. I have lived with left side issues for more than 12 years. It was just part of my life. For the FIRST time I do not drop glasses, cups or anything!! My left hand does NOT cramp up anymore. I can ride my motorcycle without my left hand cramping over the clutch grip. The feeling in all my fingers are almost the same. I can NOT remember having the fingers all feel the same. It is amazing! I repeat, AMAZING what little things you live with and never realize the source of the problem. Even though I may still choke my food down or cough like a dog, it is nothing compared to what I have already endured. As time progresses the swelling is getting better. I couldn't even swallow in the hospital after surgery. My whole neck & back would seize up with painful cramps. So as time progresses it's all healing. All I can say is if it takes 1 year for a woman's body to fully heal from childbirth, how long do we give ourselves after this extensive surgery. I expect my body to take even longer to heal than most since I was left injured for so long. I am hoping that in 8/2011, one year after my neck fusion that I can swallow like I used to. My swelling is not keeping me from eating. So I am more fortunate than the few who have mentioned how sick they are in their posts. It must be awful to go through this surgery and deal with the eating issues mentioned in the posts. Everyone's body is unique and handles things differently. We all heal at different rates. I hope to one day have no residual side effects from the injury or surgery. In the meantime all we can do is deal with the immediate issues at hand. I am glad and thankful that this surgery was able to let me do the little things we all take for granted every day. I finally am getting back to "living" not just surviving. May you all have wonderful results & Good luck.
  • 3 days post-op acdf,glad severe arm pain is gone no pain no tingling nothing operation was a success. Im sad to hear soo many nightmares after surgery i do have the difficulty swallowing has not kept me from eating big meals,seems to get better the more i eat.I do have some upper back soreness but stretching helps. I wear a bone stimulator for 4 hours a day no collar.other than being bored at home i think i will be fine i keep a positive attitude had one going in and still have one.I am a very active person love to work out practice martial arts and just be outdoors. I hope to resume my life soon but i won't rush it.To all others stay POSITIVE and move around as much as possible.
  • I had 3 levels fused C4-C7. I had 3 days of burning throat (chew on lots of ice), and 4 days of swallowing problems. I do have food getting stuck half way down the throat - doc said my windpipe lays next to the plate. In time he said it would get better, and it does seem it is a bit better. I still get pills stuck there, so I take pills with applesauce and it really helps. I'm so sorry for all the swallowing issues. I had read about this and was very worried. I'm one of the lucky ones. But I had a fantastic neurosurgeon, I'm sure that helped a bunch!

  • This is disgusting. My mother had this surgery almost 4 months ago now and she is experiencing anxiety and depression as she can barely swallow and is beginning to see that she is going to be disabled for the rest of her life because of a surgery that should have given positive results. I have read article after article about people experiencing disabling results, and I don't understand how this many people are suffering?! The purpose of the medical care in the first place is to improve a person's life.. if such negative results have occurred for so many people, why is this not brought to the patients attention before surgery?
    I'm assuming a fraction of the reason a surgeon chooses such a profession is to help people. If such a circumstance were to happen to a dog, we would put it down because it's inhumane to let it suffer and yet it is allowed to happen to a human.
    I'm a 19 year old university student struggling to manage finances, grades, all the while watching my mother suffer. This isn't right.

    My purpose of the rant being, has anyone tried to gather attention about this?
  • I had swallowing issues in the beginning and I was told that that would occur. I am glad my surgeon prepared me for the possibility. In the beginning, it was a lot of ice chips, since even swallowing water was very challenging. Foods with thicker, moister texture was the best.

    Now, things are better. They were better after the first few weeks, although if something is really dry - crackers, dry breads, then they will get caught in my throat. I don't choke or anything, I just have to drink a little something and it will go down.

    it's still way too soon to know whether this is how things will be permanently or if they will continue to get better over time. I am told that healing of this area can take up to a year, so perhaps it will become even better. If not, it's something I just need to be mindful of when swallowing. I can fortunately eat things like steak and other foods which I would not have expected to go down easily, but so far, so good. I probably chew more thoroughly than I previously did to make sure that food goes down. Honestly, liquids were most challenging, although that has gotten mostly better. Every once in a while if I drink to much too quickly, I will choke - but that's me not paying attention. And, I am still healing!

    I suspect that most are told there will be problems, but most do not either hear it or they do not think it will be permanent.

    I hope that people who are still having this issue can get some help with it. It would definitely be frustrating to know that such a basic function is impossible to navigate.
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • pengufanppengufan Posts: 2
    edited 10/07/2013 - 10:33 AM
    i am now one year post acdf for c6-7. my fusion is great but i have had continues swallowing issues and feeling of a lump. sometimes i choke depending on type of drink or size of bite. also having slight numbness in my hands again so doc is redoing cervical mri and having a nerve study done. if nothing shows during those he will send me to the GI testing. Overall i have been very happy with the results but the throat thing is really driving me nuts. hopefully they'll see what the issue is without too much poking and prodding. so for all the folks that have seen GI, what types of issues have they said you are having?
  • I am only 2 weeks & 1 day out from 2 anterior cervical fusions C5-C6, C6-C7. I too have a real issue with trying to swallow meats,breads, some veggies that have thick skin etc. Seems to stick to side of throat & makes me choke. Instructions from Dr was to stay on soft diet. I do find soups, mayo & soft fruits I can eat. Sure hoping this issue does eventually take care of itself. Immediately after surgery I had relief from pain that had been going down both shoulders,arms & into elbows gone but just recently I have been having pain in left shoulder that is going down arm & into elbow & hand again. Once again this is just a short term prob & that very soon I willl see some improvement. Anyone else have pain up back of head & in ear on side of neck surgery was done? Take care all & don't lose hope there will be brighter days ahead!
    Blessings, Barb
  • I had a head &neck injury from a fall, I had my surgery 10/3/13, My Surgeon was awesome, surgery was on c3 c4 fusion due to a herniated disk pinching a nerve, causing loss of my left side, numbing, and pain, surgery fixed the majority of that, but I am also having problems swallowing food, almost as if there is a secret pocket in my throat that the food detours to and gets stuck to the point I have to "cough" it back out. During the night I choke on my saliva(even propped up on pillows), terrible cough & thick mucus (mostly, but not limited to my waking hours) headaches from coughing & choking so hard (to the point I feel one day the hardware is gonna shoot out), vocals are not the same, trouble speaking, singing, I get horse quickly, gas & acid reflex is awful, & embarrassing. breathing is low and sometimes raspy, I still may have more necessary surgeries but im trying to overcome these post surgery side effects first, don't want them to worsen with more surgeries ..... but if its a common thing to follow surgery I don't want to prolong my recovery either, if anyone has gone through and found a solution or advise please feel free I can use it!
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