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ACDF 1-Level... OP Ride Home?

MoonbabyMMoonbaby Posts: 44
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm having an OP ACDF done in 3 weeks (March 23rd). I live 34 miles from the hospital, but am hoping to go home the afternoon of the surgery.

I'm 47 yrs... first spinal surgery... doc says it's pretty routine, text book cervical discectomy and fusion with titanium plate. Probably 2 hour surgery.

Surgery is at 9:00 a.m. I'd really like to go home the same day, but worried about the 40-minute drive. Has anyone else had to go that far after OP surgery?

Here's the kicker. I work for the hospital I'm having the surgery done at... so they'd treat me well at the hospital if I stay overnight. And it would give my boyfriend a night of peace. BUT... there's no place like home, KWIM?



  • You should not go home the same day--this is a big deal. I can not believe that you will feel up to it. The earliest I've heard of was 3 days with a single-level fusion.
    I live 50 miles from home and had a big fusion of many levels. Went home in six days. Ride home hurts, but I made sure they gave me lots of meds before they put me in the car. I made it.
    Look into staying at least 2 days...
  • It's a common Op procedure here. Even the Surgeon's scheduler had the same surgery I'm having ... and the only reason she stayed overnight was because she has diabetes. She left early the next morning. She was released by both the surgeon and our Occupational Health Dept to go back to work within 2 weeks. She told me she could have gone back a couple of days earlier, but was enjoying the time off.

    They try to get the pt sitting up within an hour after waking-up... then walking within 3-4 hours.

    I know it sounds crazy... I'm a surgical nurse, but haven't scrubbed for years. Back in the day it would have been as you described... several days in the hospital. I gather that by using donor bone and the plate it's now stable enough to allow the pt to go home same day. Crazy, huh?
  • yes, crazy. What if you are in too much pain?
    boy, I hope it goes well for you
  • Then they let me stay overnight or however long I need. My only issues with staying are 1)I'd rather be at home, and 2)My hospital has been full almost every day since January... not sure they'll have a bed available! We've had to fill-up beds from the ER at least once/week... and cancel some elective surgeries due to being impacted.

    I'm not concerned about going home the same day... except for the long highway ride. The positive thing is that I take that route every day so I know it, and my driver (boyfriend) is an excellent driver. From what I gather it's the stopping/starting that's a killer.
  • I just wanted to say that on my last two surgeries, I was in and out of the surgery center (not even a hospital) within 5 hours time. My drive home is about 20-30 minutes and wasn't bad at all. I wish you the best whatever you decide.

  • Moonbaby

    I’m having a 2 level ACDF (C5-C7) on Thursday. I realize you’re a nurse and know the ins and outs of medicine way better than I do, but IMHO I would recommend staying in the hospital overnight if given the option regardless of how you feel. If there are beds available I think this a time where you are entitled to be more concerned with your own well-being.

    About seven years ago I had an ACL reconstruction done on my left knee (skiing injury) which is a pretty vanilla operation as far as surgeries go. I was given the option to spend the night or go home. My surgeon recommended staying, but I insisted on going home because I thought I would be more comfortable and because, well, I don’t like hospitals. I should have listened to the good doctor. That first night was not pleasant to say the least. I was in pain, barely slept, and was just plain miserable. In fact the next day wasn’t much better. If I had been at the hospital those issues could have been addressed. I will not make the same mistake with my neck surgery.

    Not that I will have the choice, but that is beside the point. Heck, my physician father-in-law is amazed that I will probably only be there for one night, which has led my wife to lobby for me to spend at least two. We'll see about that.

    As simple and advanced as this procedure may or may not be, why risk it. At worst you spend an extra 12 to 24 hours at the hospital. I know the feeling of “I just want to go home”, but what if something goes wrong? Even if it is not life threatening, it could at least make you less miserable. Furthermore, as a nurse, what would you recommend to a patient if they were in your position? Just sayin’

    Whatever you choose I hope you have a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

  • It was last March 12, 2008 and I stayed overnight in the hospital and I was glad to stay. I was in the OR for over 4 hours, wow you said you would be for 2 hours. Going in I knew my doctor said approximately 4 hours.
    The surgery was in the morning and I got to my room around 4pm, I was then discharged about 4pm the next day. After that the ride home was not too bad, I lived about 40 minutes from the hospital. I was very happy to be home though in my own bed, but ended up sleeping in my recliner for several days.
    I was not back to work for about 6 weeks. I am on my feet a lot at work and could not have been very useful any earlier.
    I wish you the best and I understand coming home after surgery, I did come home after having gall bladder surgery several years ago. It just feels good to be in your own home.
    Take care,
  • I've had several OP surgeries, and I know that I usually have more problems with anesthesia than I do with the actual surgery site. Given that, I'll probably talk with the anesthesiologist to get his opinion. The VP of Nursing has already called me and told me she'll make sure I have a private room if needed (not sure how she'll do that -- I'll probably end-up in a birthing room or the psych wing or something -- just kidding).

    I guess it'll depend on how well I'm breathing and how sick I feel. But from what you're all saying, it sounds like the ride home isn't too much fun if I don't stay over. And I didn't think of it until now but the ride home on the same day would be through the commute traffic. And in the dark. What joy.

    As far as being a nurse... I'm only a surgical nurse, so we never see the patient after the surgery. So I don't advise them prior or after. That's one of the tough parts about being in the business... we make HORRIBLE patients. ((smile)) In the last OP procedure I had on myself I didn't like the surgical nurse's set-up tray... so in my pre-falling-asleep-stupor I changed it by moving all the instruments in their "proper" order... Which of course made everything no longer sterile. They had to autoclave the whole pack of instruments again.

    I'm a bit surprised that my surgeon said it would only take 2 to 2-1/2 hours, too. (That's a lot of 2's in that sentence!) We'll see if he revises that at the pre-surgery appointment after he takes a new X-ray. He said my condition will most likely have changed by then.

    Luckily I have a computer/desk job most of the time. I obviously won't be scrubbing as a "filler" while I'm recovering. I've already gotten our inhouse ergonomic personnel to evaluate my office and order all new equipment (headset, new chair without arms, new door/document holder, new keyboard tray). I won't be allowed to come back to work until the surgeon and our Occupational Health Department authorize it.
  • i had my surgery at 9am and was home before 6pm that day. the 45 min drive was ok cuz you are still pretty drugged. i did however have someone with me 24hrs/day for the next 3 days. my surgeon had told me about 50% go home the same day and do well. i'm glad i did it that way.
  • Would be to ask for the bed. Have it ready, if you feel good, go home! A lot will depend on your presurgery pain meds and how easy you are to manage pain in! That was my biggie and most peoples. I was supposed to do a OP on my shoulder. Ended up being 2 days as they had to freeze my shoulder and could not manage the pain.

    If you are easy to manage pain in, then have them load you up with their med of choice and get home before it wears off!
    Even after two days, that's how I went home!
  • I was so drugged up that I doubt if they had let me go home that day I would have hardly noticed. However just for your own comfort if you do end up going home that day just pack extra pillows in the car to protect you from the bumps in the road. The more padding the better. I even did that when I left the next morning after my surgery and for 2 weeks aftward.
  • I had my ACDF on C5/6 two mornings ago and I'm still at the hospital. I'm still in a great deal of pain and I can't swallow anything. When I'm laying down often I have to catch my breath. I am hoping to go home today. They need to wean me off of this pain pump first.
  • How are you typing from the hospital? They must have WiFi, and you have a laptop? Wow. Sorry to hear about the breathing issue... hope it gets better as soon as you get off the pain machine and get walking more. Yikes. Take care of yourself!

    I had a class yesterday that my NS offers... and it sounds like every case is different. I'll just have to wait and see how it goes on the 24th.
  • Good luck. I was really drugged up when they woke me up. I was in a lot of pain and they gave me 5 shots of morphine right away. Yes, the hospital has WiFi, but a lot of websites were blocked.lol

    I wish I was still at the hospital. I was much more comfortable there. I can not find a comfortable spot at home. I hurt myself trying to get into bed. Hubby got me out and I won't be going back in there for a while.

    I'm still having swallowing issues. My throat is very swollen. It doesn't hurt that bad, it's just the liquid goes down the wrong tube. It is getting better.
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