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ACDF 4.5 weeks ago now a revision surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello, I am new here and have found it an informative source of information with a human side to these spinal disorders. I am a 43 year old male who just learned within the last couple months that I have cervical stenosis and had severe stenosis at C6-7. I had a ACDF with donor bone just over 4 weeks ago, but immediately noticed major weakness in my left arm and very little change in other symptoms.

Maybe I should describe what led up to this. I have always had a sore neck and shoulders, but a year and a half ago my left foot started going somewhat numb, I ignored it. I had been seeing a rheumatologist for severe pain in my feet and knees that would come and go. He thought at first I had gout, as my Uric Acid level was slightly elevated. But it started getting better. Then the numbness in my foot spread up to my knee. Then last December my right foot started going numb and it spread up the leg. And then I started getting severe pain in my lower back that moved up to between my shoulders. This led to Dr. visits and to a Neurologist who did a MRI of my Cervical Spine and my Brain (I was becoming worried that I had MS). The most bizarre nerve sensations and pain were overcoming me. The Cervical MRI showed the C6-7 disk was squished out and pressing on the spinal cord. It was narrowed to 5-6mm.

Ok. So then I had the ACDF with donor bone graft. Pain in the back went away, but my left arm lost a lot of strength and neuropathy and my Lhermitte's nerve sensations have not changed. Had a CT scan (with no contrast) and that showed that material was still poking into my spinal cord on one side again reducing the space to 5mm.

So now I am going in for a second surgery this Monday morning to remove the bone spurs or what ever is still poking my spinal cord and nerve to my left arm. This will be my second surgery I have ever had, the ACDF being the first. I am healthy but worried at this point of even being able to walk and do basic tasks.

I am sorry for such a long-winded post. But is this really that common to have to go back for a second surgery after the first not relieving the symptoms? The first one was stressful but the second one has got me really scared. Sorry, but has anyone gone through anything similar?

Thank you for any replies,



  • David,
    Welcome to spine-health. There are lots of members that will share what they have gone through. I am not a Doctor but perhaps this may help.
    Sometimes they have to do a second surgery, or in my case three. I think that doctors sometimes error on the safe side when doing spinal surgery. Perhaps your doctor may be one of them. My doctors didn't want to do more than two levels at a time due to making everything unstable, hence three surgeries. Try to keep a good outlook on things, I know it isn't easy, but if you trust your doctors things will be ok. Good luck.
  • can fusion help stenosis what about ADR?
  • Welcome to spine-health!

    Unfortunately many of us have had multiple spine surgeries, although it doesn't seem common to need a 2nd surgery so soon. I'm curious as to why the bone spurs were not removed with the first surgery. Are they on the back side? Will the revision be done posteriorly? It does sound like things need to be opened up as a 5mm cord diameter is not good. With my 2nd surgery, they went in both from the front and back, and did a complete decompression of my cord. Difficult to recover from, but there is no question that my cord is decompressed! I'm interested to hear more of what procedure you will be having done.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hi, thanks for the comments. The second surgery was not nearly as bad as the first. My impression is that initially my surgeon did a conservative ACDF without any exploration. After it did not relieve all my symptoms I got a CT scan that showed the bone spurs and/or calcified ligament that did not come out with the disk. The great thing with this second surgery is that he did not have to remove the bone graft that had already started to fuse, he was able go around it. After surgery I noticed some improvement in my left arm and the many odd nerve sensations I have had all over. My legs are still numb as before, but I expect this stuff will take time to heal. I am doing quite well with pain, with only my incision being quite painful. The good thing is I may not have to ware my cervical coller for the whole next 6 weeks since the bone graph is doing so well!

    Overall I think things are going in the right direction. Only time will tell how much I will recover, but I am optimistic. I am happy to share gory details and my MRI and CT images if anyone is interested.

    Thanks for listening,

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