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have question on c-spine surgery- need your imput

asignor908aasignor908 Posts: 339
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am having ACDF at the end of July. My spinal cord is severly compressed by c34/c56 and they are removing both disc and raplacing with donated bone.

My doctor says this is required to prevent the possiblity of irreversable paralysis. Has anyone heard of this as a prevenative measure to future problems, if so would like your imput please.

Some of my arm and leg pain which was like neuropothy has been some what controlled by a medication called oxacarbizine and the rest which is primarily lower back and legs whith percocet. There is still pain of course.

They told me that the cervical surgery was a prority due to the danger of paralysis due to some trauma that might befall me or spinal changes putting more pressure on the spinal cord it self which is alreay being compressed which they fear would lead to myopathy and/or paralysis. Sorry I only have fear and questions with no answers to offer

thanks for any replies,

Al from Cincinnati



  • Anything that directly affects the spinal cord needs to be addressed immediately. From what you describe it sounds like the "right" answer from your doctors.

    If you are uncertain, which it sounds like, then get another opinion. If you call another surgeon and explain when you make the appt that it is for a second opinion they will often get you in faster. Take your films and reports.

    My feeling is that you never do a surgery based on one opinion. Getting info from a few doctors lets you put it all together. You need to feel confident going in to any procedure.
  • Hi Al,

    I have read a few of your post and understand being nervous of surgery, that is very normal. The surgery your surgeon is suggesting is the gold standard as for as spine surgery goes in the cervical spine. When there is direct compression on the spinal cord there is no wait and see what will happen. Now the question becomes do you have confidence in this surgeon and his abilities? I can say most people will research a home purchase more than they will someone they are trusting their life with.

    AS far as the surgery itself, most have very good results with the surgery. Often many patients will wake with no pain in their arms, but some it will take awhile for the nerve to regenerate. Often times I see were the person will begin doing to much after surgery as the surgery pain may not be to bad. But you will have to keep in mind your body is still healing and it was major surgery. The most important thing you can do following surgery is walk and drink plenty of water and stay on track with your medicine. Have a look at the surgery must have in the surgery forum for somethings you may need following surgery.

    Also you may want to find out a head of time, what type of meds you will need, will you need any type of brace after surgery? If your not sure of something following surgery how do you contact the surgeon? When will your follow-up appointment be? What is the schedule you will need for physical therapy and what week you can expect it?

    If your a smoker I strongly urge you to quit as smoking will inhibit bone growth. If you are a smoker you might want to talk to the surgeon about using your bone so you don't have a failed fusion.

    Another place is look in our FAQ section at the list of questions to ask your surgeon. If you can't answer all those questions then be sure to get the answers now to put your mind more at ease. You can also look at the annimated video here of the ACDF surgery to understand what they will be doing. Some things to expect from my experience are I would suspect with no complications you will spend one night in the hospital and be home the next day, which is very normal. So just be sure to have your space all setup with everything you may need before leaving for the surgery. A must have for surgery is bendy straws, throat lozenges or chloraseptic spray. Your throat maybe a little soar but that usually goes away in a few days. Also more than likely your weight limit will be no more than a gallon of milk. So that should give you a idea of where you will need to make adjustments. Also a button up shirt is much easier for your return home from the hospital if you are in a brace or a collar.

    We are here to help so any questions you may have fire away, as there are many here whom have gone through the surgery including myself. Good luck on surgery and keep us posted. If I can be of anymore help don't hesitate to pm me. Take care.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The neck is very important and problems should be addressed as quickly as you can. A fusion stabilizes the area and removing the discs means that nerve or spinal cord impingement is less of an issue from the levels treated.

    Also, the longer that nerves or the spinal cord are impinged/encroached on the more of a chance of permanent damage. I am taking meds for my C4 symptoms but even though neurontin has helped my symptoms I am hoping there is a surgical treatment so I can minimize or eliminate the symptoms. I had a C5-C7 ACDF and am no hoping they'll offer a C4 added to that.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Thank you for your respones and support. I have already seen 2 nuerosurgeons who said the same thing. I am choosing the second over the first due to accessability of his office and proffesional staff that actually answer the phone. They both seemed good, but I felt contact was important. The second also seemed like he was more flexible to my needs and concerns. I hope and pray this all turns out ok as I don't need more issues in my life. He also feels I will need a second surgery on the lower spine for a longer term degenerative disc disease which has the nerves pinched and has caused pain for several years. The one i chose doesn't think the collar will be needed even though it's a double disc replacement and fusion..

    Thanks again and keep me in your prayers

    AL S

  • Have you checked out the list of useful items to have for spinal surgery at the top of this page?

    Some of the stuff is for lumbar spine surgery, but it will give you an idea of things that will make your recovery easier. If you have any specific questions about things you need, just ask away. We will be happy to share our experiences with you. :-)

    You have time to prepare your house with things at an accessible level for after your operation.
    Then get things done like dental visits, eye checks, hair cut etc. Then have some fun and socialise with friends. Then you will be ready to go :S

    Once you are on this side of surgery, the relief is wonderful. All you have to do then is recover and heal. :O Easy!!

    We'll be here to support you through this. I know I have found the support invaluable.

  • I can so understand your nervousness as your surgery date approaches, but it sounds like you have done your homework!

    An approachable office staff that handles your needs and questions can't been understated! Mine did a lot of hand holding and reassuring before and after my surgery!

    I was very nervous before this suregery also, even though I had 2 previously! This site and the friendships I have formed has gotten me thru it!

    My hubby had your same surgery and he is doing great. It has been 5 years and the only issue he has is a little numbness in his index finger...I think he just likes having me close and helping with his tie and buttons! :) LOL

    Hang in there, we are here to help and support! The anticipation is so much worse than the surgery! :)
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