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Recovering from ACDF C5-6 C6-7

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
New to this site and have been reading some comments re: post surgery.
I had anterior surgery Jan 9. Went well, no nausea, 2 nights in hospital on pain meds, home now for 3 days. Have a lot of scapula pain and tightness, like muscle stiffness/pain and trouble swallowing.
Pain in left arm pre-surgery is completely gone. Incision is healing well: no collar, had titanium plate with screws.
Am still taking pain meds every 3 hours, but am able to sleep lying on back with pillow under legs and propped head pillow.

Any tips on managing swallowing difficulty and how long it lasts?



  • I can tell you that for me the swallowing didn't allow for anything more than pudding and lots of tomato soup for the first week or two after surgery but after that I started out with some soft food for maybe another week and after that I had a mild sore throat but it was more an annoyance than a pain. Sounds like you are doing as well as can be expected considering your surgery was just a few days ago. I spent probably the first 5 days home reclining in my recliner and watching TV between naps.
  • Thanks Tonya for helping me to readjust my expectations a bit. Guess I will have to be patient and spend a little more time watching movies between naps. I was also in an Auto accident: young girl took an illegal U turn in front of me at night on 50 MPH road. I hit her passenger side, then bounced off the Jersey barrier 3 times before my car stopped. Even with seat belts, a heavy car, and air bags, I still had major cervical spine damage.

    Now with the constant pain, numbness and tingling gone, I hope that when I am 3 months post surgery I will be back to working out and my usual activities.

    I have read some of the other posts and just want to inject that this surgery is really worth doing; don't live with the pain while contemplating it. Get a good NS and get second opinions and then go for it...
  • I had issues with swallowing too. Same pains too.

    My advice is just take it easy and do not let it bother you. I had some anxiety over it and that just made things worse for me.

    In my case, liquids went down easier. Still not great at first, but easier than food. Liquid pain meds were a blessing. Jello was my friend by the 3 day or so. I was on a "liquid" only sort of diet for about 5-6 days after surgery. Then I tried some mashed potatoes (with gravy of course!). Then moved gradually to foods that had more "texture" that were cut into small pieces.

    I would say that by the middle of week 2 (about 10 days post-op), I was eating mostly normal meals again. But was cautious about it. I avoiding hard breads, big pieces of food etc. for a couple more weeks.

    Of course, make sure you are sitting up straight when you swallow. Any other position will just make things more difficult. This is true for anyone - but more so for those of use who have had our necks worked on like this.

    I am 8 weeks post-op now and have gained back all the weight I lost during those days (I am blaming the holidays for that!). The swallowing issues have been a thing of the past for quite some time now.
  • It was about a week before I could swallow solids. Even applesauce was too chunky the first couple days! I sipped a lot of protein shakes (with a bendy straw), pudding, jello, and soup (broth only - no noodles or veggie chunks). When I finally could swallow, I celebrated with french toast! As for the pain, my scapula/shoulder pain was far worse than the surgery site pain. Heat/ice and massage really helped ease those muscle spasms.
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