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New member - looking at anterior cervical surgery soon

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi fellow spine sufferers. I had a lamenectomy on my Lumbar spine 12 years ago on 3 levels. It worked out pretty well since then. My lumbar spine is fine now, but now I have a new treat in store.
I had a whiplash injury 43 years ago, when I was 20. Since that time, my neck has always had problems off and on, but I lived with it.
However about 4 months ago, I had neck pain, numbness in my fingers and toes that hasn't gone away. I asked for an MRI and it appears that C5-6 and C6-7 are sites of osteophites - bone spurs, and a bad disc at C6-7 that gives me only 6.3 mm of spinal canal.
The neurosurgeon says he will give me an electrical test to assess any spinal cord damage but he thinks he will recommend surgery, which I fully expect. He plans an anterior disk removal with cadaver bone insert to the disk space on C6-7 and probably C5-6 as well - the two worst spots.
I am hoping that this procedure will stop any further degeneration and perhaps restore somewhat my neck, which has never really been very comfortable for the 43 years since the whiplash.
My only concerns are that my primary care doctor seems more wary of this than I am and also, I would like to know if my range of motion will be permanently limited. Many people have success with this procedure - I wonder what happens if it doesnt work out?
Also, I am a cigar and pipe smoker and I guess I will have to stop for quite a while before and after surgery - I probably will give it up for good. I had dental implants two years ago and my smoking made the healing time twice as long and painful.

That's it. Glad to meet everyone.


  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. first of all, what about that second or even third opinion? :? this is a very serious procedure, you have some special problems,and you need all the info you can get.. your GP is wary as well. :? you should take his words seriously.. he has known you and your health a long time and his opinion is not to be ignored.. please have a look around and make yourself at home.. :D good luck as you access your pain situation. Jenny :)
  • Hello Ed -

    I myself just had a C6/C7 ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion) on June 1st, and so far so good...the surgery wasn't anywhere CLOSE to as bad as the L5/S1 Fusion that I'd had in 1991.

    It took a couple of hours to complete the surgery, followed by and overnight stay in the Hospital and I was on my way home in a soft collar for neck support. I was told by others that the surgery wasn't going to be all that traumatic and they were right, the ONLY issue is that swallowing is somewhat bothersome for awhile afterwards...and that gets better/easier each and everyday!

    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised too and yeah, not smoking is supposed to quicken the healing process so giving it up probably wouldn't be such a bad idea.

    Best wishes to you Ed and fear not my friend, you'll be glad that you had it done once it's all over with. Bye for now -


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