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Is my surgeon nuts???????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just got off the phone with my surgeon, Yea the guy calls me back on a Sunday afternoon, and we discussed the recovery time, restrictions, driving ect... after surgery (ACDF C6-7 BTW) He told me someone of my age (34) and health (Very athletic and fit) I could be driving at 3 days and back to work in 10. Now, I love to be positive and still think nothing can stop me, but is this realistic?? He is from what I understand the best Neuro on the east coast and highly recommended by just about anyone I know in the field, but from what I have been reading here it seems way out there.

I also spoke to a guy he did, some ex NBA player from years ago who is 50 now and was done in mid January. This guy told me he was back in the gym in three weeks and actually lifting weights in two months (Against the surgeons orders) but said he felt great in only one week after C4-C5-C6 fusion. I will be having lunch with this guy a few weeks after surgery as he swears I will be completely up to it and back to work.

While I have been hunting for great stories on this site and only found a few, and while I REALLY DO think people who fly through these surgery’s tend to leave this site alone rather quickly, I want to hear about quick recovery’s.

Where are you guys, I know you have to be out there? This is besides the few of you I have spoke to already and seem to be doing pretty good.

But back to my question, Is my surgeon nuts?????


  • Obviously he has high hopes for a very quick recovery. I guess in a very short time you will find out if he is correct.
    Just make sure you listen to your body and not the stories of others. Everyone is different.
    Rushing through your fusion and healing time won't be good for you in the long run so just be careful.
    I will repeat myself. Listen to your body.
    Good luck and quick healing.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    I don't know NJShamrock, but I'm with Julie on this one. I'm am active, fit, and
    can't sit still too long but after my spinal surgeries I found out that over-doing it just sets you back further in your recovery time. And lifting weights
    that soon after is only a recipe for disaster. Yeah, I am no doctor but experience, common sense, and the understanding of the mechanics of the
    vertabrae puts up little red flags.
    Take care, be safe, and don't over-do it.
  • You know what you can and can't do. Please my hand surgeon had me back to work in two days. I was sick for four days and couldn't see straight. He told me to use my hand to make it stronger and guess what? I need hand surgery again on top of neck surgery. You listen to your body, not the doctor. I think a lot of them want to feel like they are superior and that you are strong enough. You'll know when you can handle things on your own recovery time. Be assertive and let your doctor know this. I actually told my doctor he was nuts and he'll never cut me again. Take your time and just heal, that's your job! :)

  • A neurosurgeon told me that your surgery has the highest success rate.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,848
    You will see that just by reading many posts here. Of course there a several that have a very tough time with the cervical surgery.

    I have had two ACDF's (C5/C6 - 1996) (C6/C7 - 2000)
    In both of those cases I was in a Hard cervical collar for 7 weeks. I was not allowed to drive, nor could I because of the collar. I went back to work about 9 weeks post surgery.
    And that was pushing it.

    But realize that was many years ago and I am sure the cervical surgery procedure has been improved. But returning as quickly as your doctor suggested, that really is having
    some high positive hopes.

    But who knows? Its difficult to predict how long a patients recovery time will take after any spinal surgery.
    There are way too many variables, so at best we can only
    talk about estimates.

    I would really go back to the doctor and ask them again.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I am 4 weeks post-op from my ACDF (c5-c6) today. It's great that your surgeon is so optimistic about your recovery time. I felt really good a week or so after surgery. So that is definitely possible. I felt like I could pretty much do what I wanted, but I didn't. The surgeon warned me not to overdo things. Even though you may be feeling great, there is still the risk of a non-fusion if you do too much too soon. That risk is enough to scare me into following orders.

    With that being said, I think there are very different schools of thought among surgeons about restrictions during recovery. Some require a hard collar (like mine did), others do not. Some people are immobile for weeks and weeks - others are encouraged to get back to normal activities. So it's realy hard to know who is right. I'd say to listen to your surgeon, but more importantly, listen to your body. It definitely tells you when you are pushing the limits.

    Take care & good luck!
  • I went to a top 10 hand surgeon. He sent me to work too soon. He also has no idea how much I use my hand at work. My mother was telling me I was NUTS! Tell the doctor your feelings and he should understand.

    I recently found out that my carpal tunnel is OK, but i did use it too much. I also broke up two 8th graders in a fight and pulled the nerve about a month after surgery. So you need to be careful. The doc said it was a set back but it is healing well.


    MY MOM TOLD ME NOT TO LISTEN AND I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO HER. They are doctors, not experts on how you feel. Only you know how you feel!

  • Although your type of recovery is supposedly among the "easier" fusions, my personal bias is somewhat cynical. I doubt that your surgeon is crazy, but he may be manipulative. I believe that some surgeons (not all, but some) will sense which patients either a. want to recovery ASAP (i.e. have a strong financial incentive or other incentive to get back to work immediately), b. are afraid the patient will shy away from/reject the surgery if they suggest a long recovery time, and c. try to get the patient back to work to be able to brag to other patients, other doctors etc. "my patients have XYZ and are back to work in ..." . They then give these patients these unrealistically short return to work times literally "guilt" the patient into being back to work at that time frame (we all want to be good patients and not malignerers right?). Maybe their motives are self-interest, maybe some do so because they know how powerful the mind and power of suggestion is in recovery. Another possibility is they don't understand the full scope of your work and other details - i.e. if to get to work you first must get out of driveway that makes you twist.
    As an aside, I chose the surgeon/procedure that cited the shortest recovery time, went back to work on "his schedule", and hindsight being 20/20, should have had a different procedure with a different surgeon, and not gone back to work as soon as I did. Just my 2 cents.
  • I am your success story!! I had ACDF only 8 days ago. I came home the night of my surgery. Was in the supermarket (with "carrying" help) the next day. I am somewhat restricted as far as lifting; but other than some minor discomfort/swelling at the incision site and mild back-of-the neck achiness, I am good to go!!! Again 8 DAYS AGO!! My NS told me that when I woke up my pain would be gone. I didn't want to believe him because I didn't want to be disappointed, but it really was!! What a miracle. I am kicking myself for waiting and putting up with the agony. I have never taken a pain pill and other than some MILD swallowing issues that I assume will pass when all the swelling is gone, there is NOTHING!! I hesitated to post this because everyone on the site seems to have had so much trouble and pain. I feel for them ALL. But didn't want to share my story and make them feel worse!! Best of luck and NO your surgeon is not crazy!!
  • I had fusion at C5-6 and C6-7 and was out of work for a week. (surgeon said 7 to 10 days after surgery) I am 36, average health, really didn't need pain meds all considering. They basically discouraged wearing a collar and all they gave me was a soft collar. It is now 4 months. I have had some residual pain and nerve problems (I had spinal cord compression) but nothing too crazy - better than presurgery for the most part.

    The guy in recovery next to me had a single level, had a cheeseburger and fries in the recovery room and pronounced himself cured.

    So no, your surgeon is not crazy and in fact I think it is becoming the norm to some degree.
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