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Having Both ACDF + Corpectomy........(help)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone -

I thought I would post a new thread since my dr called me to advise me of a couple of things.

1. His partners agree for me to have surgery, however not for the fusion only for the corpectomy. His partners think I should wait and see how things go, before doing the fusion.

2. He wants another EMG, to cross his "t's and dot his i's" -- I am not happy with this, but if I have too I will.

3. I advised my dr that my headaches is what kills me and even lifting and even typing on my laptop computer makes my arms go numb. Dr. said he understood.

4. advised maybe something is wrong that the EMG, could reflect to postpone surgery.

Finally after 30 minutes, and explaining that regardless what the EMG shows "MY NECK,IS STILL GOING TO BOTHER ME". He did agree and that he would prefer only to go in once, for which I agreeded too.

SO here is the plan:

7/29 - ACDF on C4/C5 and corpectomy on C6 (donor bone); I will be in a hard collar and also have a bone stimulator too --- to insure fusion or help with. The dr was very clear that should the fusion not take place he will have to go back in and go through the back of the neck and use screws (not looking forward to that - so the fusion and bone stimulator better work).

Dr. said that my throat will be sore for several weeks, due to the legnth of the surgery and what is involved -- i have to keep an eye on my weight too (weight loss)

My question is this:

Has anyone had both ACDF and Corpectomy at the same time? How was the recovery?

With 2 weeks before my surgery, I have to admit I am starting to get scared. I really can not find any information about having both at the same time.

thanks in advance



  • I had a revision done wich included both an acdf and partial corpectomies of 3 levels. It's not quite the same but I found that I was no more sore than with the ACDF alone. I personally would rather have one surgery than two but that's up to you and your surgeon.

    Cindy has had both done at the same time and should be along soon to answer you a little more in depth.

    I can tell you that I never had a positive EMG. Sometimes some people never do apparently. I just read all my surgery reports and my nerve roots were clearly being crushed but negative EMG's- go figure. I also have myelopathy and that does not show up in the EMG. My TOS never did either. That darn machine just doesn't respond to me even if my arms are dead numb LOL!

    I hpe your surgeon told you that the surgery may not take away your neck pain. They simply don't do surgery for pain alone and it is pretty common for pain to continue after healing. The surgery is to stop the progression of damage. Hopefully you'll be one of the lucky ones who gets complete relief. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    All the best,
  • Thanks Griff -

    I really do not have a choice about the corpectomy, because C6 is 70% empty which the dr is afraid it could fracture. From the visual on my X-Ray C4/C5 is out of alignment and also herinated too, although his partners want to wait to do anything to it - my dr does not like the way it is and feels it is always best to make one surgical attempt rather than only doing what needs to be done now (hence the reason for the ACDF and corpectomy).

    I truly am OK, with getting them both done -- I just want this over so I can heal and start running again :) Having four children it is a stress reliever for me. I also just got my masters degree, for which I just realized that I am postponing getting a full time job right now. I dont think working 36 hours a week in a school is best after only 4 weeks having this surgery -- my dr also agreeded.

    If I could use a magic ball, I would just like to know that this is my only surgery and my life will be back to normal before the start of the new year :)
  • griff said:

    I hpe your surgeon told you that the surgery may not take away your neck pain. They simply don't do surgery for pain alone and it is pretty common for pain to continue after healing. The surgery is to stop the progression of damage. Hopefully you'll be one of the lucky ones who gets complete relief. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
    That is my biggest fear that surgery wont take the pain away..

    So I constantly look for less invasive help first..
  • swim-mom said:
    -- I just want this over so I can heal and start running again :)

    I had to quit running because of extra spine pressure and start to swim..
  • Hi swim-mom. I am the Cindy griff was referring to.

    I started out with C5-T1 ACDF, which didn't go so well, and eventually I ended up with a revision to that. Mine was done anteriorly and posteriorly (front and back), along with not only corpectomies, but vertebrectomies to achieve complete decompression of the spinal cord. I don't know that it would be fair to compare my sitution to what you are having because it sounds as if you are doing all of yours from the front, which is a good thing! Posterior is a whole different procedure. Pain wise, I don't know if it will be more than a normal ACDF, as you will still have one incision, and everything that needs to be moved around is the same as if you were just having an ACDF. But everyoen is different. I would assume that you will need to wear a collar for stability, especially since they are doing the corpectomy. Are they putting in a strut graft to replace the bone removed from the corpectomy?

    Good luck, and be sure to give yourself time to heal.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Did you have any surgery to possibly allow to continue to run again?
  • Hi Cindy -

    The dr will be using banked bone for my surgery, since I am having both ACDF and Corpectomy, he said recovery would be better if my comfort level is at 100%. if he uses my hip, then recovery would be longer and it would be much harder to relax since the hip just adds to the pain of the surgery.

    You are correct, he is going through the front - however if I do not fuse he will have to go back in through the back of my neck and use screws.........sorry that is all i know.

    I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in march 2010, and he said I could still do it (regardless if I walk or run it - I am hoping on running - but I am realistic and patient with the healing process)

    Fortunetly, all 4 of my children this year are school age - which means I can concentrate on healing when I am not adjuncting at the local college.

    Can I ask how your recovery was? the only thing i do know is that my throat will be much worse than the ACDF surgery alone. he said it could takes several weeks for the inflamation to go down and fluids will be my primary source of food for the first several weeks.
  • Honestly I didn't have a lot of throat pain with either of my surgeries. Just felt like a sore throat for 3-4 days is all. I was eating normally from day one both times. Did occasionally suck on a popsicle because it was soothing. Some people really have a difficult time with this, for others it doesn't seem as bad.

    My recovery has been difficult, in both instances. First go round I had some pretty serious complications. For the 2nd surgery, it was both anterior and posterior with rods and pins in the back; plate, strut graft, titanium cage, and screws in the front. I wore an aspen collar for 6 weeks 24/7, and then weaned off of it over hte next 2-3 weeks. After that I wore a soft collar when I felt I needed some support, still wear it occasionally when I am sleeping or on the really bad pain days when hanging out at home and trying to get somehting done.

    It is good that your children are a little older. I have 5 children and they have been great help to me. I think you will do just fine with this surgery. Continue to research so you know what to expect. It is so hard to compare one person's recovery with another, because we are all different. but if you have other questions, please ask and I'll try to answer.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I am almost 4 weeks post op from c5-6 corpectomy with fusion c4-7. The surgery was done anterior with cage and graft. The recovery process for me has not been too bad. I am just now begining to lower my medication levels and become active again. I slept for the first 2 weeks.lol. I believe my body was exhausted from the year of pain and yes my pain that i had prior to surgery is gone! Other then post-op pain all the pain in my legs,arms,neck and shoulders are gone. Hopefully your outcome will be as good as mine. The first few days I did have trouble swallowing but that subsided within a week. I wish you all the best for your up-coming surgery and if you have any questions I will be glad to answer.
  • Thank you Susan :)

    The funny thing, not really, but true I am being fused C4/C5 with the corpectomy at C6 --- which I am sure will involve C7 too. So you and I are very much the same :)

    I just layed on my bed for what I thought was going to be 10 minutes, and I did not have a pillow under my neck -- WELL my neck is killing me on my left side, it shot up my neck to the base of head and down my left arm. All of that because I did not have a pillow ready when I went to lay down.........I guess it was my bodies way of reminding me that I really need to have the surgery done.

    Thanks again.
  • I had 3 level acdf with corpectomy at C6. I was almost 90% fused at 6 weeks. I walked a lot and drank a protein shake/fruit smoothie every morning. Doing very well a year and half later. Be glad he's not using your hip bone, that's the only thing still bothering me. Not using is a choice i wish i was given. Good luck.
  • I had acdf surgery on June 15th (C-3 to C-7). Any body else out there with a four level acdf surgery? Just wondering about your recovery, etc. I'm still on pain meds, but only two a day (Vicoden) which bothers me a bit. I want to be off of them. I'm also walking about two miles every day. I feel pretty good. Neck still hurts but not too badly. I go to the doctor on August 7 to see how the fusion is doing. I was told it might take a while for it to fully heal, being 53 and the four levels I guess makes it a little harder to fuse together. WOuld like to hear about anyone else's experience and recovery with this type of surgery. thanks,

  • Linda -

    I can tell you in a week, when I have it done - then again you will be feeling much better by then. If nothing else I have found from these boards is that no one is the same, and feeling better has so many factors.

    Cross our fingers you and I will be on our way to recovery and being pain free in a short time from now.
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