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1 level vs 2 level ACDF

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi -

I'm looking for some informed experiences on the following scenario: my ortho has recently upped the ante and recommended 2 level ACDF (5-6-7) instead of the original plan for 1 level (5-6).

I've read elsewhere that two levels can result in more ROM loss post-op, but otherwise it seems the two procedures are fairly similar...

Would love to hear some thoughts on the following topics related to two level experiences:

>Level of dependence on others during the initial recovery

>Return to work time line for desk jockeys (realizing that everyone is different)

>"Green light" time line for air travel (10+ hours) and leisure activities (such as fishing, horseback riding, hiking at 10k+ altitude, etc)

>Are you glad you did it, or would you reconsider if you could turn back time?

Thanks in advance...



  • Well, I didn't have a 2-lvl but I did have a 3-lvl. I'm amazing at how much ROM I have. I wore a hard collar for four weeks and a soft collar for eight and I'm only slightly limited looking up and down and tilting my head to the left or right. Looking left and right is not a problem at all - my PT said it's because the cervical spine doesn't move that much when you look left and right, thus the other limitations.

    I had someone with me for three weeks after I got home, but two would've been fine (my mom-in-law tends to overstay in any situation) and I could've functioned by myself after a week if necessary.

    I returned to work after about seven weeks, but only part time and even that was difficult (I also work at a computer).

    As for travel, I have no idea, but I'm sure you'll get someone who can share their experience.

    I'm very glad I had my surgery because it relieved the worst of my symptoms. Healing is not a quick or easy thing, but it does get better with time.

  • I had the same surgery you are facing. I am only 8 days post op so I'm new to this but I can help with your 1st question. I would recommend you have help for the first few days if you live alone. Everyone has a different experience with surgery but it's nice to have some support around. I think I was really lucky & have done very well but I was so happy to have my sister here with me for the 1st wk. She left this morning. I am wearing a hard collar(miami j)which really limits what you can do. Washing my hair has been my biggest challenge & I still haven't figured out the best way yet :?

    I am glad I had the surgery since I was risking paralysis without it & some of my symptoms have already disappeared. This site is great & I have received soooo much valuable information & support here. Lots of great people on here willing to help with even the most trivial questions. If I can help you with anything else feel free to PM me. Good luck!
  • I also had the same surgery two weeks ago and I agree with newfienurse. I needed help around the house the first week, getting up and down stairs, washing yourself, getting things above your head or low to the floor can be a test. Get yourself a grabber-they are invaluable. You might want to get a nice short buzz haircut pre-op so you don't have to deal with it post-op.

    I'm still in cervical collar so I can't really say how ROM is yet. I went for two level becuase I didn't want to have to have this done again in the next few years for the adjacent level. I'm expecting to return to work at the end of 8-12 weeks depending on fusion success and yes I'm a desk jockey also.
  • ...for the info and thoughts so far. My lovely wife will be around to help, but I'm sure she'll need a break, and I have extended family nearby. If I do this, I'm hoping to be somewhat to mostly independent by the end of the first week. I also want to jump back into work by the end of the second week, but the drift I get is that it depends on individual recovery and post op pain, etc.

    No worries with hair maintenance, as there is not much left! :)))

    At this point I just need to make a firm decision...I've been dealing with cervical issues and the associated baggage for a long time and I would love to have some relief, but I also have this sense of concern that I could come out on "the other side" of this the same or with more limitations...Can't remember what "normal" feels like anymore and it's probably not a good thing to just accept the status quo, but I'd hate to go through this and not improve...

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