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3 days post op ACDF C6-7 Australia Public System

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I havent posted before, but I wanted to share my experience because was petrified before my surgery as it was the first time Id have to have any kind of surgery.

I've had pain on and off for approximately 2 years. The last 2 times of mild pain it took about 6 months to go away with the help of an osteopath. Both times the pain wasnt too bad. Then the 3rd time I got the pain I thought I'd try a chiropractor (bad decision!!). Anyway he made the pain so bad that I had to go to my GP to get pain medication. So CT scan, MRI and waiting for a Neurosurgeon for 8 weeks later I was booked in for surgery. This is Australia's public system so the only thing I've paid for are my GP appointments and my pain medication. Because the surgery is free you usually have to wait a while for non emergencies. The Neurosurgeon couldnt tell me how long the wait would be, but 4 weeks later they rang me and told me my surgery would be in 4 days. This was last monday.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, had my surgery on monday, woke up pain free and have had pretty much no pain since. Went home on tuesday afternoon. The only pain i have is called an Aspen Collar....!!!! So uncomfortable, but I've heard you get used to it?? I hope so. I dont know if I'll survive 6 weeks of it. Sleeping is a bit of a pain but my hubby bought me 2 giant wedges and i use one to sleep and the 2 for on the couch when i'm lounging during the day. Last night I slept for 10 hours from needing a good catch up after throwing up all night in hospital.

I'm surprised Im not using any more painkillers and that there isnt even any pain in the wound site. I feel a bit bruised at the back of my neck and the worse pain I have now is when I cough. I seem to be coughing a bit and I suppose its just from the bruising of them moving my throat and insides around. I worry that the coughing will dislodge whatever they've put in there. I was told it was a titanium cage with bone fragments and some type of glue!! But as I dont have my pain arm anymore, i feel so far so good!!! I still have some tingling, but not as much as i did before and 2 fingers are still numb, but that was never too bad anyway.

So I just wanted to give a good experience and hope it helps someone make their decision. I read a few horror stories of peoples pain coming back and am praying that I'm not one of them. The surgery was not a great experience, but I can honestly say the nurses at XXX in Clayton were wonderful and everyone who I spoke to was great, from the Occupational therapist to the Physio Therapist to the Neurosurgical resident....

The Neurosurgeon who operated on me was XXX and I (so far) can highly recommend him.

I'll try to post in the next few weeks with an update.

Good luck all!!!


Doctor's name removed by forum Authority (Cath111). We do not permit publishing specific doctor's or institution names and contact details.


  • Barbara:

    Your surgery sounds like a great success so far! I also had a one-level cervical fusion that went great (2003). Now, 6 years later, I have little to no neck pain (unless I sleep wrong or sit in a car for hours on end).
    I will warn you, however, that your pain will probably be elevated in a few days. Everyone has a sort of "pain free" zone for the first couple of weeks and then the real recovery pain sets in. I'm not trying disappoint you--just warn you so that you're prepared to go through it.
    Maybe you'll be lucky and it won't happen! :)
    Thank goodness for great husbands, eh? They (and other helpers) make all the difference in the world!

    I hope your recovery continues to go well.

  • I am glad everything went well for you! I'm praying for your continued good health. God Blesss!
  • Thanks for the warning. Hopefully all will be good. So far so good. Still no pain. Neck still feels tender and when I get up from sitting if i'm leaning a little too far forward I notice a kind of pulling in the neck but it goes away when i stand up. I've also noticed some very small cracking sounds. Dont know if this is normal??? It feels like the tiny bone fragments that are trying to heal are breaking?? Just wondering if anyone has noticed anything similar?
  • I am four weeks post op from 2 level ACDF.

    I also have the crackling/popping sounds when i turn my head left and right. Its not always just once or twice per day. Very wierd.

    I asked my doc and he said it was nothing to be concerned about since they dont hurt.
  • Glad that you're doing well. I had some loud pop noises when I was at your recovery time. I'm 12 weeks now. I was told that no harm is done by the pops.

    I still have healing pain. None of the pain from prior to the surgery is there. I've heard some say that they have an easy recovery. Mine has not been bad I'm just not use to being limited so I'm getting a bit frustrated.

    I had a 3 level ACDF so that's to be expected. I heard it would take a full year for me to feel like me but I didn't believe it. I still hope to prove them wrong but I'm not as certain that I will LOL

    Thanks for sharing and the best to you!
  • YODELS WROTE : "It feels like the tiny bone fragments that are trying to heal are breaking?? Just wondering if anyone has noticed anything similar?"

    Hi I am new to the forum , I am 38 and I had a one level ACDF c7-t1 10/21/2009 and my doctor and hospital in manhattan were both wonderful. I have been wearing a philidelphia collar which looks almost identical to the aspen collar on google images. I stupidly twisted and opened the oven door today and I had a loud pop and a mild burning sensation in my back toward the right side. I have been having a lot of light internal "clicking" or"cracking" sounds each day mostly when getting up from laying down or sitting that seem to come right from the site. (I posted that along with a long history in a message about clicking sounds with acdf on this site this morning , I thought it was the same thing, Yodels, I thought it was the bone fusing and then breaking again and I got discouraged thinking every time it got a chance to fuse a little it would crack again and that the bones are not sucesfully fusing) But after that pop from opening the oven door, i had a little burning feeling and then there was actually a spot on my back where I could reach up ( lower that the c7-1 area) where I had pain with slight palpitation from my fingers but it kinds subsided over a few hours.. I first thought I ruptured a lower thoracic disc because the pop and the pain were more in my mid back. Now I feel fine and its been a few hours. I took the collar off to shower and had no issues. I will be going in this wednesday for my 2 week follow up xrays and I will surely mention this to the dr. The clicking is more worrisome because it sounds like its right at the plate although I have absolutely no pain from it. I am thinking the pops are from being stiff and hoping he sees fusing of the bone on wednesday.
  • From surfing around on this site , It seems as long as there is no pain with the clicking , cracking or popping sounds, all is o.k. and to be expected. I will let you know what the doctor says this Wednesday.

    Any reply is always nice to hear when you are sitting at home doing nothing just waiting for your body to heal.
  • Hi, thanks for all the replys. I hope you're healing is going well LDuet as mine has. I havent had any pain at all since I had my surgery. I had the collar taken off a few weeks ago and although my neck is a bit stiff and I cant turn as much as I used to, the physio has given me exercizes to do, but I'm extrememly happy with everything. Had my neuro appt a few weeks ago as well and have another one in Feb but he seemed to think all was good. Had 8 weeks off work and then went back part time for a week but I felt like I would have been ok to go back at 4 weeks!!! The popping has stopped and it all seems good. I'm glad I had the surgery. I still have extremely mild numbness in my 2 fingers but I hardly even notice it unless I force myself to and I had the pain in my arm on and off for 2 years so some nerve damage was probably expected. A lot of people said my pain will come back, but if I'm doing this well after 2 months, and the herniated disc that was pushing on the nerve is removed, I dont see how!!!! :) Wishful thinking perhaps, but I hope not.
    take care
  • Thanks for post. So torn but after 18mths and now not sleeping due to nerve pain in both arms, constant aching and no strength I have booked in for 2 weeks. So nervous but reading your post has helped.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hello debcoop

    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I am closing it.

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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