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ACDF Questions....surgery in 1 week

TatiyanaTTatiyana Posts: 194
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am trying to mentally prepare for my ACDF surgery and hoping some of you can help...:) I actually had a ALIF a year ago but my surgeon said this would not be as bad.

Here are some questions I have about the ACDF...

What should I expect the first week of recovery...pain wise, will I have trouble positioning, will I need someone at home with me & what will be the most difficult...

also I am wondering for those that have had this surgery, what kind of scarring should I expect? I hadnt really given that much thought until this week but now I am wondering how noticable it will be after healing..my surgeon did say he would make the incision in a crease... :/




  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    My surgeon also made my scar in the crease and after a few months you could hardly see it. What levels on your neck are being done? The worse part of recovery for me was getting in and out of bed. The first few days I did need someone with me but I think it was more for emotional support then anything else. Pain wise I had tremendous relief of arm and neck pain immediantly
    following surgery but for me my neck just felt well...weak. Will you be wearing a brace? The brace always made me feel more stable although my surgeon said I did not really need it, I wore a soft collar while sleeping and a hard collar while up and about.
    Good luck on your surgery and it will be over with before you know it.
  • He is doing C6/7 with screws instead of plates because he said I did so well with the screws in my back fusion.

    I think he said I would wear a collar.

    I am more nervous about this surgery than I was with my lumbar fusion a year ago.. I had such a hard time in early recovery.

    How was the ride home?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,858
    then I did with my lumbar surgeries.
    I have had cervical disc herniation at C4-C5-C6-C6. The first was in 1994, the second in 2000.
    Each time, I had almost 90% pain relief the following day after surgery.
    My recovery period was shorter and easier than my lumbar. I had to wear a Philadelphia Hard Collar 24x7 for 7 weeks. Then I started in with Physical Therapy.

    Today, the only times I have problems with my neck are
    is when I over due something, or when my thoracic area acts up which triggers cervical issues. What I did find the worst for my neck was all those uses on the computer. Since I return, mid 2009, I have had so many less cervical issues.

    My scar is about 2" long, not in any crease, but it really doest show that much, besides, its just another one of my badge of courage items!

    Spine-Health has both Articles and Videos on Cervical Surgery and Treatment

    Cervical Surgery

    Cervical Disc Video

    Cervical ACDF Video
    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
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    ACDF is much easier, in terms of pain and recovery, than my lumbar posterior surgeries have been. At home you'll just want to have things within arms reach if you are home alone. For example, if you keep chees in a lower drawer in the refrigerator then move it to waist level in the fridge, etc. Have things like extra toilet paper available so you don't have to reach under the sink to get it.

    I had a hard Aspen Collar to wear for 6 weeks and it was not comfortable, but I now can say I'm glad I had it because it prevented me from moving the wrong way (when awake or asleep). I bought an extra set of pads for the brace so I could wash one while using the other in the brace. Also, ask for a prescription for muscle relaxants if you don't already have those

    The scar on my neck is not very visible. I did a few things. First I used curad scar strips (not sure if they are around any more) and then Prefer-On. Once of the best things I did was buy a lip balm that was 45 spf. I would apply it to my scar frequently throughout the day. It was easier to carry than lotion, easy to apply, and being spf 45 it meant the scar got no sun. Even if you don't live somewhere that the sun shines all the time (I'm in Phoenix) the neck will still get frequent sun rays on it so blocking them reduces the scar's visibility). I think the one I used was Bananna Boat, because most other lip balms are SPF 15 or 30 at the most.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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